Don’t Miss Your Own Dinner Party by Trying to Do it All

When I was in my thirties I worked way too hard at my own dinner parties. I really did try to do everything myself.

I’d say in the last 10 years I’ve learned a better rhythm to serving my guests, when I realized that I was missing out.

I wanted to enjoy my own parties, so this is how I changed my hostessing:

How to NOT miss your own dinner party:

1. Cook recipes that entail cooking or preparing food ahead of time. In other words, choose easy recipes that involve a very little last minute prep.

2. Ask for help when you need it, especially for last minute details (chopping, pouring water, gathering chairs, lighting the candles).

3. If others jump in to help, be gracious and give them a job.

4. Have a pre-dinner chat with your spouse or friend on the roles of serving. (I’ll serve the salad, you cut the meat, etc.)

One of the things I figured out I was missing was sometimes the best conversation. If I was in the kitchen, and came back to the group, the best had come and gone … and I missed it.

Even though it’s easy to catch up, or catch on, still, no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen, or even worse, miss their own dinner party!

On a level from 1-5 (1 being you never ask for help), what’s your comfort level for asking for help in the kitchen when entertaining?

   

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8 Responses to “Don’t Miss Your Own Dinner Party by Trying to Do it All”

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    Kim in MD — January 31, 2013 @ 5:27 am

    Great post, Sandy! I would say I’m a 3. Like you, in years past, I would do it all myself. As I get older, I am much more comfortable asking for and accepting help. I’m still kind of a control freak about the food, but I’m very happy to have help when it’s time to serve or clean up!

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    Shary — January 31, 2013 @ 7:01 am

    I don’t mind asking for help. I have a “rule” about people coming for dinner. The first time they come, it’s our treat. We prepare the whole meal. Any time they come after that, they get to bring a dish as well. Like you, sometimes they come back, sometimes they don’t. I try to focus on easy. Recently we moved to a city we’d lived in before, but for a different church (hubby is a pastor). We wanted to have the Board over for dinner and treat them. A dear friend from our previous church came and helped me cook and serve so that I could be free to visit. THAT was an incredible gift. When all was done and the last guest left, all I had to do was put clean dishes away. She had washed them all!!

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    Nancy — January 31, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    Sandy,
    I think your email has been hacked. I just received spam email from you with a link to active cleaning solutions. Might want to change the password as fast as you can.

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    Heather @ Heather's Dish — January 31, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    Like Nancy said, I got an email from you too – I figured something was off, but it does look like you were hacked!

    P.S. You should totally do a show like Barefoot Contessa – you have so many amazing and gracious hosting tips!

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    Laura — January 31, 2013 @ 10:02 am

    So far I’ve only had menus that require last-minute things like “take the bowl out of the fridge and throw away the plastic wrap” or “remove from oven when the timer goes off.” So it hasn’t been an issue for me. We have some regular guests with physical limitations, so I try to make sure there’s nothing to do when they get here but chat. That has just become a habit. But we always welcome it when someone offers to bring a dish or wine. Oh, and I really don’t like to cut and serve dessert. (But I do love to make and eat it!) So usually someone steps in to do that!

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    Shari Kelley — January 31, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    I try as much as possible to do everything ahead of time, because I can’t cook and talk at the same time! It’s hard for me to ask for help as a lot of our friends work and I don’t, so feel like I want to treat them. I appreciate your tips as I hate to miss out on visiting with guests, too.

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    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — January 31, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

    Love this!! I could definitely do a better job of asking for help. Sometimes as the “foodie friend” I feel obligated to do more of the heavy lifting when it comes to cooking, etc.

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    Lily — March 22, 2013 @ 4:42 pm

    This is an awesome event. I am pretty sure this is very enjoyable. Thank you for sharing this.

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