All of our family loves to cook and we enjoy having dinner parties. My husband and I have a pattern. He likes to decide what the main dish will be and prepares it. I do all the accompaniments, most appetizers and dessert.
We work well together in the kitchen and clean as we go so not to have a pile of dirty dishes when the guests arrive. Our dinner parties usually end up as kitchen parties and we never go to bed until the dishes are done. Most dinner parties are thought out in advance but the last minute impromptus are always a success.
I like to layout a nice table and use dishes given to me by my mother, aunts or in-laws. My mother-in-law always set an elegant table with a centerpiece of some sort. This varied from flowers to small ornaments she found around the house. Touching the ornaments seemed to be the norm while waiting between courses.
We’ve had fun with our dinner parties and don’t stress if something fails. One party in particular, we asked guests to come with an apron. Upon greeting them at the door, they were given a recipe and were paired with someone other than their spouse. Little did they know they were helping with the cooking! We had a time line so we knew when things had to be prepared. It was a fun evening but some recipes didn’t turn out. Someone didn’t like onions and the dessert needed more time to set. That was a learning experience.
I have a notebook (like my book club notebook) where I keep a record of all our dinner parties. Actually, I have 2 books as I started this back in 1988.
I have kept track of who we invited, the occasion for the dinner, what we served and from what cookbooks the recipes came from, what worked and didn’t and I try to keep track of the wines we served. That proves to be difficult at times. If you come for supper more than once, rarely will you be served the same thing because I go back to my book.
I started this because when I got to know my father-in-law he kept records of things. For example, when the ice formed on the river, the high tide lines, birds that visited. He did this for reference and that is why I like keeping track of my parties. Plus, it’s fun to read back and see the trends as the years go by and the friends we have entertained. While living in Quebec, fondues were very popular. We had a “plethora” of parties around that theme. Today, it seems brazing, tagines and slow cooking are in.
- December 19, 2014 – Braised Lamb Shanks
- December 31, 2014 – Lobster Boil
- January 17, 2015 – Pâté à la Râpure
- May 18, 2015 – Roast Chicken
- May 31, 2015 – Leg of Lamb
- August 22, 2015 – Pacific Sockeye Salmon