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Dinner Party: A New Tradition Could Change Your Life

Sitcoms love to make the dinner party seem like the pinnacle of grown-up entertaining. If you were to go by an episode of say, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, you’d envision it as a complicated balancing act during which everything — the guest list, the seating arrangements, the decorations, the stupid souffle — needs to go just perfectly … otherwise, it’s a mess of epic proportions.
My friends? This is a damn lie. Dinner parties of all shapes and sizes can be successful, and a recent essay on Serious Eats got me thinking about how I could create a fun and — more importantly — manageable weekly dinner party.
dinner party
The premise of the essay was simple. (I’ll break it down here, but you’re really going to want to read it in its entirety when you have a chance). The author created something called Meatball Fridays because she and her husband were feeling isolated after having children. Going out with friends and hiring a sitter was pricy; plus, they spent enough hours working that, when they weren’t punching the clock, they wanted to spend time with their kids.
The solution: A weekly informal dinner party revolving around meatballs. They perfected the meatball, as well as the rest of the dinner party routine. They left themselves an hour — no more — on Friday afternoons to clean what they could. They invited one and all — old friends, coworkers, online acquaintances passing through town — as well as their kids, and created a sign-up sheet with a cap on the number of adults to keep things from getting out of hand. Guests were encouraged to sign up for and bring a bottle of wine, a side or a dessert. (They also shared any dietary restrictions that would require a different type of meatball to be made — otherwise, all meatballs were made and frozen well ahead of time.)
And that, more or less, is it. There was no heavily curated guest list, no elaborate menu, and really, no stress. People from all walks of life came together, ate, conversed, and, by the sound of the essay, had a wonderful time, week after week.
I can’t tell you how much I love all aspects of this idea. Find a simple, affordable dish you and your family love, perfect it, and create a gathering around it. It might not work for a sitcom, but I think it’s going to work for me. I’m thinking maybe tacos
Are you a fan of the dinner party? Do you prefer to host or attend? And how do you feel about a Meatball Friday type of ritual? What would you serve? —Kristen

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1 Comment
  1. Thank you so much for the wonderful post.

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