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Hosting a Dinner Party Solo

By Alex Conde

 Dinner parties are a great way to gather with friends, meet new people, and have a great time, which means they are the perfect thing for a single person to hold. Unfortunately, they are also a lot of work, and are often too much for one person to handle. Should this make you give up? No. If you lack a partner to help you prepare, there are two great options for holding a dinner party all on your own.

 The first option is holding a potluck dinner. Everyone coming is requested to bring a dish. The host monitors who brings what, in order to ensure a full meal will be offered. This lowers the cost that anyone needs to bear, since each person provides one dish, instead of one person paying for the entire meal. The dish each person brings should already be prepared, limiting the hostís duties to reheating,
and laying out all dishes and cutlery for use. You should try to organize how the food will be served, such as in buffet form, or on a large table in serving dishes, but otherwise most of the work is done for you. While this is a method that is not particularly difficult to arrange, it also deprives you of the control over the food. While this isnít a huge issue, but it can be if youíve invited someone you want to impress to the dinner party.

 Your second option is the more difficult one, but with difficulty comes reward. If youíre trying to impress, this option certainly will. In this option, you prepare everything yourself and fly solo. This might seem intimidating, but thereís a method to achieving this called the Three Pís: Planning, Preparation and Pacing.

 Planning: First thing to do is figure out what youíll be doing. A good dinner party works in time for conversation as well as eating, so youíll want to start with some finger foods before the main course. That gives people the chance to mingle. Then, you need to choose dishes that will require minimal upkeep while the party goes on. So, avoid labor-intensive foods, and go for ones that you can prepare beforehand. This leads to the next P, preparation.

 Preparation: In order for the dinner party to go while youíre running it alone, you need to do everything you possibly can beforehand. Cook dishes earlier and reheat them (be sure to pick your dishes so that this is possible), and arrange to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen. Obviously you will need to spend some time in the layout of food, but a dinner party canít be considered a success if the host spends no time socializing. Also, as a tip from people who have made this mistake, donít get too fancy the first time. Simple dishes mean less chances for mistakes.

 Pacing: This is what makes your preparation easier. Plan out your meals by courses. Maybe start with a soup and move on from there. Take your cues from a restaurant. They pace the meals out so that diners can have a social experience, as well as making time for the kitchen to prepare the food. So, start with the finger food, then move onto a full appetizer. Go from there to the actual main course, and be sure not to forget the dessert. By pacing the meal, you set aside a time to lay out the food, and a time to socialize with the guests before the next course needs to be laid out.

 So, look at your options and see whatís best for you. Dinner parties are a great way to socialize with friends and meet new people, so donít deny yourself those pleasures. Ponder a potluck or think about the three Pís. Get cooking!




Who's on your fantasy list of dinner party guests?

Famous actors? Politicians? Environmentalists? Sports stars?

Who do you know that follows Hollywood?
Local and national politics?
Environmental causes?

Now, who would you like to invite to your first dinner party?