Important things to remember
Started conversation Sep 14, 2001
This has probably been mentioned before but a dinner party should include:
Food (Type and number of courses can vary greatly) These can include finger food such as peanuts, an entree such as soup or prawn cocktails, a main course (preferably one that has offered its own rump to you before hand), dessert (not desert as many find this a bit dry), after dinner mints.
Drink (See above)Wine is quite popular as is beer. Water is a good idea to curb dehydration due to alcohol (with this in mind having a perfectly functioning toilet is always a must).
Guests - This is possibly the most important factor. Nearly everything is dependent on it. Never invite people who don't get along though this is usually ignored as you have to invite all these poeple so they don't complain about you. Find out if anyone's allegic to anything such as peanuts, shellfish, latex (this is for a very special type of party and not necessarily held by surgeons).
Style - Formal or informal? This is hugely dependent on your guests. If they're your close friends or relatives informal is quite easy. If it's a boss or in-law you're trying to impress, formal is the usual method. Fancydress can even be done. A birthday suit party has the advantage that people are unlikely to spill and stain any clothing (an if it's exceptionally informal - just you and your partner - spillage can be eagerly dealt with), the disadvantage being that spillage of hot soup, etc can be quite painful.
Candles - For some strange reason people like candles though this is heavily dependent on your fire alarm. In many University halls candles are not permitted though smoking is.
Music - Light jazz, classical, middle-or-the-road pop like Phil Collins and s****** Richard Clayderman have all been used. It is not unusually that no matter what you put on, someone will not like and then go through your CD collection just to sneer at it. They'll often do the same with your books as well. After all the job of a guest is to make all your efforts seem pointless and inferior. Though a guest will often have to hold a dinner party so you can recipricate the insults.
Location - This is best done at a restaurant or someone else's thus reducing the damage to your own property. If you have the dinner party at your won place, insist that the guests bring drink and do the washing up, even if you do have a dishwasher (called Mum).
Time - Evenings are popular though daytime means you can start drinking earlier. No matter what time you say to arrive most people will turn up half an hour late giving ample time to pace and giving them less time to wait for the food and have to make small talk.
Important things to remember
Posted Sep 19, 2001
Check if any of your guests are vegetarian and check to what extent that vegitarianism actually goes. For example you may think you have played safe with a prawn cocktail (fish are after all an animal), a nice gratin for the main course (only you didn't use vegetarian cheese and animal rennet was used to solidify it) followed by icecream and jelly, (icecream may be out if the guest is actually vegan unless you have used a soya based product of a non-diary glaze, as for the jelly geletine comes from animals)
If you are in any doubt check with the vegetarian, they are more likely than not to be willing to help you as it means that htey know they will actually be able to eat, and are bound to have some interesting recipes that may even tempt some of you meat eating friends.
I remember the first time I hosted an all vegetarian dinner party for 7 meat eating friends. One of my guests spent the whole meal trying to find any meat in the menu, and even accused the innocent chick peas of being chicken.
PS being vegetarian doesn't mean we want unimaginative menus, there is only so much nut loaf (even if made to Delila Smith's recipe) that one can take.