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The lost art of dinner parties

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The lost art of dinner parties

Rosemary Clooney had it right when she sang, "Come on-a my house-I'm gonna give a you figs and dates and grapes and cakes". The power of food to comfort, nurture, and connect people has been understood for centuries. So why have dinner parties seemingly fallen out of fashion?

In this age of fast food, hosting a dinner party can be an enjoyable way to catch up with friends and family, sharing food, wine, laughter and stories. By following the tips below, you can revive the art of dinner parties with your circle of friends, creating wonderful memories and strengthening relationships in the process.

Keep it simple
Since when did dinner parties become such formal affairs? Keep it simple and you'll be surprised what a wonderful and unforgettable time you and your guests will have. If you're not skilled at preparing braised lamb with roasted avocado salad or simply don't have the time, try something faster and easier. For your first soiree, try decorating the table with paper Italian flags and scatter colourful dried pasta across a white tablecloth. Play a Dean Martin CD, prepare a huge pot of spaghetti, and put the garlic bread in the oven to broil. Voila! You're having your first fabulous dinner party!

Be spontaneous
You don't have to plan a dinner party weeks in advance. We all know what it's like to try and schedule a night out with friends-everyone whips out their calendars and no one can agree on a date. But if you have the courage to throw a dinner party on a day's notice, you'll find it's fun to get together on the spur of the moment. Encourage your friends to call if they find themselves with a free night.
 

Do it once, then do it again
In her poem, If I Had My Life To Live Over, Erma Bombeck writes, "I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, the sofa faded". You don't need a spotless designer home to enjoy the company of good friends. During the first years of our marriage, my husband and I had a 600 square foot apartment and a kitchen table that could barely seat two adults. We didn't let that stop us from hosting dinner parties for four, six, and even eight guests. We didn't care if we had to eat with our plates in our laps-and neither did our guests.

Once you begin hosting dinner parties, you'll realize how easy and rewarding it really is. Your friends may begin throwing dinner parties themselves, and though some may never return the invitation, it's not about keeping score. Perhaps they have not yet cast off their inhibitions and fears of hosting a dinner party-and you'll be a hard act to follow.

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The lost art of dinner parties