Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dinner Party Planning

I've been thinking about dinner parties and entertaining and the various styles of it.

My strength has always been in large groups.
I am talking twenty to one hundred people at my house for a party.

We used to have the perfect house for it. 
Here are some photos of my kitchen in California.


Hottie Husband made all of our cabinets, the island and did all of the trim on the windows.


I loved that this piece looked like a fireplace mantle and the glass cabinet was another favorite. 


Our kitchen was part of a great room and we did a lot of entertaining in that room.
Before it was even drywalled, we covered the walls in black and red paper and had a Las Vegas style dual birthday party for my mother and father-in-law. 
There were over a hundred people.
We set up tables, craps tables and poker tables. 
Whoever had the most chips won a prize. 


We had Christmas Brunches, Easter Dinners, huge going away parties for friends and endless birthday parties in that room. 

But, here in Montana, we know considerably less people and have no family here, so at this point, there are no large parties in our future. Plus, my kitchen is now much smaller and is no longer french country. It is now seventies style with a red sink, brass fixtures and brownish orange tile with brown torturous to clean  grout!

So, I have to go smaller in scale and it is a bit of a struggle for me. I am used to making all the food ahead of time, setting up a buffet, setting out drinks that are easily accessible. 

I still have this urge to have everything made before everyone gets to the house, but last weekend we went to a dinner party at a friends house and she totally rocked my world.

I didn't take pictures shame on me because I didn't know all of the people coming and nobody there even knows that I blog. 

But, this is how the night went. She told us it was Indian themed and to bring what we were making partially prepared and to cook the rest at her house.When we arrived, everyone was already cooking. I struggled to find a spot at the counter, fearing my dish wouldn't be done on time. I scavenged for a pan and ended up using one that someone else had been using as a lid. I had to wait for a cutting board and dig through her cupboard for measuring cups that didn't exist. 

It was crowded and we were all over each other, stealing cutting boards and knives and the one measuring cup that I finally found did exist. 

People were taking spoons and tasting my chicken curry while it cooked on the stove.
Then suddenly half of the group decided to go for a mountain bike ride.
Perfect, my dish needed to simmer for thirty minutes. 

When the group returned about an hour later, the hostess decided that the girls who had stayed behind should have a good walk while the mountain biking group set the table for dinner.
I would have totally been fretting about time at this point.

When we returned, candles were lit, flowers were in vases, the table was set and it was nine pm. 
I quickly added the coconut milk to my dish and warmed it up. 
We sat down to eat and everything was delicious. 
The company was delightful.

The thing that rocked my world was that she let the environment be messy, disorderly, communal. 
I have a tendency to make it self-sufficient, pre-arranged, orderly.
But, I think I am going to change, because honestly,
her way was a lot more fun.
It was a lot more like family.

It was how I picture a big Italian family in the kitchen.
Withholding the Indian food and the mountain bike riding!

What's your dinner party style?


MamaMonki said...

I'm usually a prepare everything ahead of time kind of girl too, but the Indian party sounds a lot more fun and less stressful. Maybe I need to loosen up.

Farmgirl Paints said...

There are two kinds of people. Those that can do THAT and those that can't. I think I would have been really nervous if I didn't have it planned out before. I hate entertaining. It stresses me out. I wish I wasn't that way, but apparently that's the way God wired me! Sounds like a fun night. Indian! BTW your kitchen was gorgeous. I bet you miss that little part of your life.

partialemptynester said...

Before we moved, God put on my heart, "If you can't be hospitable in this quaint little starter home, how in the world should I trust you with a true entertaining home?" It was at that point that I HAD to (had no choice but to) put my trust in the Lord...I opened my itty bitty little quaint home to the community...some liked it, some didn't...but the Lord blessed us with the most amazing entertaining home later...I can't even explain it...and now, we have party after party here each weekend...some intimate, some in the 100's (the last one: my hubby's 25th high school reunion...the next one: my daughter's 8th grade Halloween "boy/girl dance with a dj"...oh, don't think daddy's all over that one? You know it!!! Leave it to the Lord...He'll use your house to the hilt...and your hottie hubby, he won't disappoint...he'll have your home lookin California amazin in no time, sweet girl!!! I love, absolutely LOVE your transparency!