Home-life · organisation

The joy of hosting

I love dinner parties. I believe it comes from my Mediterraneen upbringing. When my parents hosted dinner parties, my siblings and I were allowed to stay up (when we were old enough to behave) and eat elaborate meals that my mother did not cook on a regular basis. The nice dinnerware was displayed, the ladies looked beautiful, the conversation was interesting and the food was delicious.

Growing up, my vision of hosting was influenced by Bree Van de Kamp ( I have watched Desperate Housewife a ridiculous amount of times) and I quickly started to host little dinner parties as soon I was at university.

When I moved to England, I realised that people around me did not host dinner parties. Most of the time, I was requested to eat prior to a party (drinks only… that you have to bring yourself!) or getting a delivery and paying your share via bank transfer as soon the food was ordered. So gauche! In this case, I would rather go to a restaurant and maybe go for a drink or two after.

My mentor in this field is Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer who is known for his essay “The Physiology of Taste” and his famous quotes about food and the art of hosting. Let me break down for you how my favorite quotes of his have influenced my passion for hosting.

“Whoever receives friends and does not participate in the preparation of their meal does not deserve to have friends”

Having friends over for dinner is planned from the moment the invitation are accepted. I start by working on the food and drinks menu (I have a notebook in which I keep track of my friend’s allergies and dislikes) and discuss it with my partner. Hosting a dinner can be very affordable but remains a joint expense that we discuss prior to purchasing anything. I cook all the food for my dinner parties but will sometimes order the dessert. I like to decorate the table according the occasion or the season as you can see in the picture below.

Autumn table

“To receive guests is to take charge of their happiness during the entire time they are under your roof”

Such an important point: I have to make sure that my guests are happy during the time they spend in my house. In order to achieve my objective, I make sure of the following: my guests appreciate each other or – if they don’t know each other – I would believe will get along. The key is to keep the conversation going and the evening will be a success.

“The most indispensable qualification of a cook is punctuality : it must be that of the guest also”

The day prior to a dinner party, the house will be deep cleaned and I will check that I have everything in order to prepare the dinner and put the drinks in the fridge. I will also select the outfit I will wear for the dinner party.

The day of the dinner party, I will take the opportunity during my morning walk to buy the fresh produce (bread and cheese for example) and the flowers. I start to prepare the dinner as soon I come back home, which allows me to clean the kitchen as I go along. In the worst case scenario, it allows me to have the time to remake the dish I might have ruined. Once the cooking is done, I make sure that the kitchen is clean, the dining table set and have time to relax before getting ready. I have plenty of time to enjoy a nice shower and dress. Once presentable, I head back to the kitchen and will display the appetisers on the coffee table. I am usually ready half an hour before the first guests arrive.

Hosting is my opportunity to have my friends in my home and show them how much I appreciate them. And you? Do you like hosting dinner parties?

3 thoughts on “The joy of hosting

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