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ENTERTAINING

No-Sweat Dinner Parties With Flair

 

Here is an ingenious and inexpensive way to enjoy hosting and attending dinner parties. Get ready to form an international gourmet club! This is a great way to learn about other countries, try new foods, and have fun with your friends at the same time. First, you need to set a few ground rules for the club membership. Everyone who joins must agree to host one dinner party per year. A maximum of twelve couples makes up the club, so there is only one party per month. If you have only six couples you can make it every other month. Or, skip the summer months if you are too busy having fun on the lake to worry about dinner parties! In order to spread out the responsibilities nicely you probably need at least six couples.

The group also needs to come to a consensus regarding whether or not children should attend with their parents. If you want to use this as a way to help educate the children about other cultures and spend some quality time with them, then include them all! On the other hand, if you want to provide parents with a nice inexpensive gourmet night out without the kids, then make sure everyone feels comfortable with this model.

Each dinner party that is held is based on the cuisine of a particular country. Dishes are signed up for by general category, i.e. appetizer, soup, vegetable, side dish, main dish, dessert, wine or other appropriate specialty beverages. Each attendee can then look up recipes from the selected country that fit their category and decide what to cook. At each party, everyone who attends must provide at least one dish, sized so that everyone can have a serving. Make sure that everyone is aware of any food allergies or special requirements any members might have.

Set up all the dates with country choices and dish assignments as far in advance as the group desires. Here is an interesting way to accomplish the country selections for a year. Each couple in the club can suggest a country in turn, disallowing duplicate choices. Or put all the suggestions on slips of paper, throw them into a hat and draw them for each scheduled date.

The host of the party might only need to take responsibility for providing some appropriate decorations, facilities to cook, reheat, chill and serve food as necessary, along with plates, silverware, napkins and glasses. With the food being prepared and provided by the other attendees, preparation for the evening is easy on the host, and the cleanup won’t be a huge chore.

Having everyone try to dress in representative clothes for the country whose cuisine is being featured is a fun way to add a dress-up element to the evening. If you want to add a little extra pizzazz to the evening, the host can provide music from the culture you are exploring. If anyone has recently been to the featured country, ask them to bring their trip photos or mementos to share at the party. There are lots of other ways to bring this international experience to life. Everyone can try to learn a word or two from the language of the country, and share what they have learned with the group. Think of a few ideas of your own and andiamos!

 


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