What is your style of entertaining?
I think most people entertain guests from time to time, even if it's just inviting friends to watch the super bowl and eat nachos. What is your style of entertaining? Elegant soirée? Backyard barbecue? Just call a friend and say, "Hey, come on over" and figure out what to eat when you get hungry? How many people do you like to have over? How planned is it? Do you ask people to bring food or do you prefer to prepare it yourself? Is food an important component of entertaining guests to you? Do you serve courses? A buffet? Family style? Is the food you serve guests different from what you eat ordinarily?
Maybe tell us an example of a party or casual gathering you've had recently.
One/some of the kids come over during the week for dinner. I asked in advance what they'd like: Pasta/'meat and potatoes/'Chinese/ Curry. Whatever. They arrive about 5:00-6:00. Dinner ready to serve. Sit down. Glass of wine/beer. Visit and eat till about 7:00-8:00. They have to work the next day normally. I always make enough to send the left-overs home with them.
I get a lot of enjoyment being asked to make this or that type of food.
One of everyones all time favorites is fettucini served with thin slices of smoked salmon with a creamy lemon and tarragon sauce.
We usually have a couple large-ish gatherings (30 people or so?, seems large in our smallish house haha!), usually centered around a sporting event (ie Super Bowl, or Univ of Wyoming football). I prepare a few things like a main course type thing (pulled pork, tri tip, something like that), and also ask people to bring apps and desserts. We now have a kegerator so we offer beer and sodas, and let people know it's BYOB for anything other than that.
The food I serve is different... basically a lot of it is not that healthy and I try to eat healthier during the week. Also vegetables never go over that well, so I don't bother with more than a crudite platter.
I would love to have smaller dinner parties but we live pretty far out of town and it's hard to get people to come over more than a couple times a year haha!
mine swings wildly --
from someone is over and we decide to have dinner, to group outings that end up at our house, to planned sitdown dinners for anywhere from 4 to 25 people.
I tend to keep a lot of pantry items on hand -- appetizers and nibbles, pantry staples to throw together a meal, etc.
We regularly have friends over for informal dinners. Often they are outside, centered around our outdoor kitchen and dining area.
We always have a theme, and friends like to bring something to contribute to the theme (wine, a special chocolate, or something from their travels). Not a pot luck, but we have friends that cook and they love to share something unique or interesting. I have had friends bring grappa, a special cheese to share, a new favorite apple they discovered to slice and share, or a unique item from their garden or honey from a local bee hive. I love that about my friends and family. Relaxed and no pressures about this style of entertaining.
More formal dinner parties are rare anymore, but the last one I hosted in 2013 was for 6 guests, invitations, (2 would be considered friends, 4 were colleagues) we all had a thread of connection through our work. cocktails and apps in the smaller, intimate room off the kitchen so people could get comfortable with each other and develop flow. Dinner in the formal dining room (a plated salad, then family style main) then coffee and drinks in the living room with desserts. More work and pressure to host this way, but it is very cool when it goes really well and people make new friendships.