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How To Plan the Perfect Dinner Party

By Lavender March 29, 2010

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Knowing how to host a dinner party is a must for any respectable gay man. It falls right below having a straight female friend who goes to every gay bar with you, but above having perfectly sculpted hair. Thus, it’s important. Being gay means that you knew how to bake before you could ride a bike, but a dinner party is about pulling off the perfect meal and entertainment, not the perfect cake. So, if you haven’t learned how to already, continue reading, my friends.

Step 1: Talk your friend into hosting a dinner party at your house. This ensures that you get the credit, but don’t have to dirty your hands with the actual act of creating the event. It’s perfect!

If you don’t have any friends who know how to cook, or are smarter than you, having already tried making you do the exact same thing at their home, go to Plan B.

Step 1: Hire a catering company to do all the work. Lock the kitchen door, so no guest accidentally can find out that you’re a fraud. Tell the workers if they make a sound, you’re going to rip up that check, and they won’t see a dime from you!

If being a fraud makes you feel bad, you need to learn to let go of that type of feeling. Until you learn how to do so, here’s how you actually can host a dinner party.

Step 1: The menu is very important. You need to consider the people you are inviting to your dinner party. You should take into account their likes and dislikes, and even their allergies. Nothing is worse than hosting a dinner party where no one but you likes the food.

Step 2: Your menu should be easy. It should be planned out before you ever go to the store. This isn’t the time to try something new or complicated. If you screw up, you have no backup. Go with what you know how to make. Unless you plan to have your guests hang out in the kitchen, you shouldn’t be in there very much, either. It’s a dinner party, and if you can’t enjoy it, why are you hosting? Make things that require little kitchen prep time, or that you can whip up quickly. The easiest way is to have one hot dish for the main course, one served at room temp, and a third pulled right out of the fridge.

Step 3:
Every dinner party should have some cheese to snack on. It’s easy, and it can keep your guests occupied. The time you choose to serve the cheese can be used to your advantage, as it lets you control the flow of the party. You can make it a way to let guests mingle as you finish prepping dinner. Or, it can be an after-dinner snack telling your guests they are welcome to stay, and continue talking, which is common in Australia and the UK. However, if you want everyone gone by 10 PM, giving them a reason to stay longer will not help you. In France, cheese is served before the dessert. When you are ready to draw the dinner party to a close, you can remove all the dishes, including the cheese, and bring out dessert.

Step 4: Do it all with grace. This may take time for you to learn, as it is a tricky technique. At best, a dinner party is a great evening with friends, family, or coworkers. At worst, it’s a disaster beyond stressful for the host. Having a lot of people in a small area will create a lot of dishes. The trick here is to remove them as you bring out new ones. It allows you to clear the table, and free up room for other dishes, but at the same time, to control the pace of the party. If dinner has been removed, and dessert has been served, the guests know the evening is coming to an end. If you did it correctly, they will not have noticed that you took control, and decided the evening should wrap up.

Step 5: A good host, in general, will complete the evening with a nightcap—a cup of coffee or another drink. This allows everyone to wind down after an excellent meal, and enjoy the final moments of the party. It is best that the drink be brought from another room the guests were not invited to. Doing so tells them it is their final drink, not an invitation to continue chatting—or, if the nightcap contains alcohol, the beginning of a night of heavy drinking.

If the thought of all this work seems like fun, by all means begin planning the perfect night. But, if you read this, and lost those feelings of guilt, the trusted Yellow Pages has a nice heading for catering companies. If you’re able to pull your event off without your guests knowing you catered it, you are the master of dinner parties. You are ready to take on an apprentice to whom you can pass on your wisdom.

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