September 24, 2009 by ritadate
You dread guests. You feel you owe a lot of dinners to friends and acquaintances but do not like the idea of reciprocating the hospitality at home.
Your dishes are not elegant; you don’t have time, never have enough help or cannot cook to save your life.
What other excuse do you have that is holding you back from enjoying one of life’s pleasures…spending time with friends and family over a good meal. You are the hesitant hostess, always waiting for the perfect home and set of glassware or wonderful cook in order to call guests home for an evening meal.
You would like to be the intrepid hostess but keep procrastinating taking the first step to get there…which is to invite people over!
To reach your goal of entertaining and enjoying it, follow these simple steps.
1. Relax; remember that it is only dinner, if something goes wrong or you think it went wrong, it is not the end of the world. People will remember that you made an effort to invite them, not that the soup should have been hotter. If they do remember the small things that were less than perfect then they are the type of people to avoid, no invitation next time.
2. Think minimalist. Ostentatious parties have left the building last September when the recession hit. Although there is an upturn in the market now, people still think spending unnecessarily is overrated. You do not need expensive crockery or cutlery; clean and functional are good enough. If you want to impress someone, borrow what you need from a friend and do this when only absolutely necessary like your husband’s job depends on it or your child may get thrown out of school if you do not impress your guests.
3. The same goes for your home. Be proud of your home. Stay above “keeping up with the Joneses.” A clean home with your welcoming warmth goes further than Italian marble flooring or the latest furniture. I have had the best and most comfortable meals at my friend’s place in a chawl in Mumbai. Now many times passing through Mumbai I visit my friend’s parents still staying in the same one room and still making the best prawn biriyani I have ever tasted.
4. Never say you cannot cook. If you ask people what they think of the food all the time you will never be happy. Women often degrade their cooking before it reaches their families’ mouths…oh sorry the rice is too sticky, the kofta is too hard, something is just not right with the chicken. Chances are that these comments are made to preempt criticism but DO NOT make these remarks; you are bringing attention to things that guests may never notice in the first place.
5. If time is a problem, just order the dinner out. This does get expensive but dinner out at a restaurant with guests would be even more expensive. Alternately, a cheaper option is a potluck at your home. Choose to contribute the dishes that are easy to make or pick store-bought dessert.
6. Menu planning is fun for some but a dreaded chore for others. Enlist the help of your kids, you will be surprised to find that they know. Think back to some parties through the years that you have attended and make a mix yourself.
So take the first step today. Begin with calling your good friends, try some new recipes and some interesting cocktails, and most importantly remember to relax and enjoy the evening.