Hosting a dinner party can be a lot of work. You have to clean your house (or at least move the clutter around), cook for a group of people, and then clean up again after dinner! I know there are a lot of hacks and tips for making the whole process easier. This post has nothing to do with any of those – it’s about the heart of a dinner party.
Why would you go to the trouble of hosting a dinner? Because breaking bread with strangers turns them into friends, and sharing a meal with friends deepens your bond. To me, it’s the ultimate show of friendship to invite someone to your home for a meal. If my kitchen is open to you, my heart is open to you too.
A good dinner party isn’t about the table setting, the cheese platter, or even the main dish. It’s about making memories around the table. I was first introduced to this idea by a book called Bread & Wine, by Shauna Niequist. She writes so beautifully about how food connects people, and how nourishing others can actually a soul-nourishing experience for ourselves. Even though Shauna’s books are often classified as ‘Christian reads’, I found the messages universal and inspiring.
When I read Bread & Wine in 2014 we lived in a space we had started to outgrow. Back then, I had no cooking for a crowd, and I didn’t have enough matching place settings for more than 6 people. Still, the book inspired me to host my first dinner – it wasn’t really a party. We invited a family that we sort of knew from the kid’s school over for dinner. I was so nervous about the space and my cooking. We served fajitas and I felt like my cooking was meh that day, but it’s still one of my most memorable dinner get-togethers. That evening our families really became friends, and my fear of small-space, imperfect entertaining was conquered.
Since then the same family has grown to be one of our closest friends. We celebrate festivals together, have our own annual traditions, and are regulars at each other’s place. We can pop-in any time without the fear of judgement over a messy house, (although, I’m usually the only one with laundry drying on the banister).
I’m a dinner party veteran now, hosting one or two a month, and an annual dinner party for 40+ guests! My favourite gatherings though are the onese where there are intimate conversations and you really get to know people.
This is why you should host a dinner party – it strengthens your friendships, increases your confidence in the kitchen, and makes your house feel like a home.
To celebrate the dinner party, and all other forms of entertaining, this year I’m adding a new section to the blog – Gather. Here we’ll share quick and easy recipes for feeding a crowd, dinner party tips, ideas for decor, and glimpses into our personal celebrations and traditions. I hope you’ll join me at my virtual dining table.