Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Comeback of the Dinner Party

I'm on a mission...and that is to bring back the mid-week dinner party. It used to be prevalent in a time where we, as a society, seemed to have more class and chivalry. Dinner parties were held to introduce friends, catch up on who moved in the house next door or impress the big boss man. But as we have gotten busier and more into our search for total global domination, we've let stress and rudeness dominate our overall interactions with each other.

For as modern/liberal minded I am, I find myself liking a certain classic way of life. And a good meal, cooked at home and enjoyed amongst friends is one of them. I get the whole idea that we are busy and schedules don't allow for much wiggle room, but seriously, people. Eating among friends over a good plate of food is better than any TV show. Life's problems can be forgot, even if for a short time, with a single bite of delicious food.

I'm not talking about picking up take-out and dropping it in one of your nice china serving dishes either. I'm talking about putting in some chopping time--giving it your gusto in the kitchen as you prepare something both yummy and pretty (because after all, food with more color is more enjoyable). Speaking for myself, I find great relief and solitude cooking after work. It is the only time in the day that I can focus on something other than the stressors of work/life and control what I am doing.

As my friends and family are well aware, when I say I love to cook, I mean I LOVE to cook; however, sometimes I get bored of cooking for myself and Denise, my roomie. There are times when I yearn for a group of friends to get together for some wine/cocktails and a stuffing meal. The lucky part? Most of my friends entertain my last minute whims...such as a Mexican Fiesta Dinner Party night thrown together in less than 24 hours...

Monday evening, I had asked a good friend of mine to come over as he had just moved to Chicago and I hadn't seen him since my NYE party. He suggested Wednesday as a good dinner night, and I was game. However, as I decided upon our menu last night, it hit me. "I should make a small dinner party out of this!" I thought to myself. After sending out the "text invitations" last night, I was set for a nice little gathering.

Just five of us, including me & Denise. A manageable menu with a nice go-around of the table. Perfect size for a mid-week dinner party. The best yet...everyone needs to eat dinner! So, it was already killing 2 birds with one stone: 1) Eating & 2) Socializing.

Our menu consisted of jicama salad with red onions, grape tomatoes, corn seasoned with chili powder/cumin/paprika, red peppers and dressed only with lime juice. The main course was a green chili chicken enchilada bake (which is out of the Cook Yourself Thin cookbook & is delicious but HEALTHY!). Stephanie was a doll and brought over some chips and salsa to add to the feast!

Overall verdict...a top night, top night.

People, join forces with me and plan a monthly dinner party. It will relieve stress, prove to be a good way of getting through the week and allow you time with your friends. Bring back some tradition to meal time, and I promise, you won't be disappointed.

If money is tight but you want to get people together, make it a potluck! Everyone must bring a dish to be shared. That way, you won't feel the monetary heat at each meal. However, I caution that most people ask to bring, don't be afraid to say "First come first serve" on what they bring: appetizer, main dish, side, dessert or cocktails. You can also plan a theme as I did with the Mexican Fiesta. Then, the menu will be cohesive instead of all over the place.

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