Feature: Guess who’s coming to dinner?
Dinner parties are one of the great joys of life. There’s nothing like lingering at the table enjoying a delicious home-cooked meal, a full glass ofwine and, of course, good company.
But, what makes a good dinner party? Here are a few tips.
Plan ahead. Take your time and have fun setting up your home for the party
Try and have everything ready at least an hour before your party starts. It can be uncomfortable for guests if they arrive and see the host still arranging the table.
And plan your music ahead of time. You don’t want to be fumbling through CDs while your guests are arriving. And make sure the music is not too loud. You want people to chat in comfort, not strain to hear what other guests are trying to say across the table.
Guests will feel especially welcome if you treat them to a special cocktail (with or without alcohol) or a glass of wine. One of the best hosts in Bacolod invariably welcomes guests with a glass of red wine.
On the other hand, there are some hosts who don’t drink and provide no booze at all. But their parties are usually good and the food always very tasty, so no problem, I bring my own booze. Always a good idea to have a bottle of something in the car when this happens.
For those guests who don’t drink always have plenty of bottled water, soft drinks and fruit juices on hand. And don’t forget to have lots of ice.
If you’re providing wine, always buy more than you need. Running out of booze can a be a real party stopper.
A buffet is definitely the best way for a dinner here. When I first came to live in Bacolod 11 years ago, I tried a formal Western-style sit down dinner party inviting eight people (my table seats eight) and stating a certain time for dinner. Only five people turned up on time and an hour after we’d started a further six people showed up. This would not have been a problem had I offered a buffet.
As for the food, you might have a cook or you might prefer to cook yourself. In my case, I like to cook myself.
Be careful to avoid large centerpieces on tables. One host I know has some beautiful centerpieces, but they are so big, it’s almost impossible for guests to see each other across the table let alone speak to each other. Ditto large candles or candelabra.
Do make an effort to introduce your guests to each other. It’s an obvious point, but quite often one doesn’t have a clue as to who the other guests are. Finding people with a common interest can be one of the keys to having your guests enjoy themselves.
Keep things organized and simple, and you will be guaranteed an enjoyable and stress-free dinner party.*