In this economic climate we are all becoming familiar with the various ways in which we can save money. One of the more interesting ways that is sweeping across the country is the prevalence of the dinner party. The modern dinner party might not be a patch on the old parties of the 20th century, but the return of this tradition is certainly something to be proud of.
Not only is it a way to save money, but it also means that we are maintaining skills that might otherwise be forgotten. The skill of cooking is an obvious one, but it also involves manners, polite conversation and the ability to host. There are those out there who believed that these skills were lost in the wake of modern technology, but thanks to the recession they are being maintained in the homes of millions across the country.
What is a modern dinner party?
The modern dinner party can consist of anything from the most informal affair on any weekday night, to the most luxurious full day event. The basic idea is for a small group of friends to rotate the cooking duty, each hosting the party once a week, cooking for their friends and providing some form of entertainment for the evening. Perhaps the trend was inspired by the popular TV show, Come Dine With Me, but whatever the cause might be, millions have latched on to it as a way to save money yet still see their friends and loved ones.
While in the past such events would involve the help of a butler, several serving staff and the all important presence of a professional cook, nowadays it is much simpler, with the host cooking and serving the food. In some cases there is even an agreement that the last person to cook must do the washing up at the next event. The food doesn’t necessarily need to be exotic or expensive, in fact, as the idea is to save money it is often simple hearty food, such as sausages and mash or cottage pie. Feeding friends and looking after them for the evening has become a matter of pride, with each host competing for the best reputation in the group.
Make it your own
For those wanting to recreate this popular new trend there are many ways to go about it. The simplest way is to invite some friends around and agree between you that it will be a weekly event, taking it in turn to host the night. If you are looking for a more extravagant dinner party for a special event then why not do it in style. Create some simple yet stylish invites and send them out without any prior warning, for optimum impact. In many cases this type of event is based around a theme, such as a murder mystery party or a Mad Hatter tea party. This can involve more work, but the results are always memorable and, hopefully, will inspire your friends to do the same.
Focus on the taste of the food in addition to presentation and don’t forget that you are doing it for your guests, so keep in mind any allergies or dietary requirements in addition to the types of cuisine that your friends enjoy. The entertainment for the evening can be anything from watching a film together or playing a board game or it can be more elaborate, such as a murder mystery game where each of your guests plays a specific character. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and imaginative.
What is Next?
It will be interesting to see where this trend leads. Could we all slowly become groundbreaking hosts and party planners, or will it simply disappear once we can afford to eat out at restaurants once more? The skills that are being developed with the modern dinner party might be overlooked, but they were once considered so important that parents would send their children away to finishing school in order to ensure that they have good manners and could host a successful and memorable dinner party.
Networking and hosting is no longer such an important issue and people conduct parties simply as a form of entertainment and rarely to reach a better level in their work or social life. Times have changed, but the return of this once favoured tradition can be no bad thing and gives us all a chance to improve our imaginations and creativity, in addition to showing our friends and loved ones that we care about their wellbeing enough to physically cook for them. It might not be silver service and the food might not be groundbreaking, but as long as we have food in our bellies and the pleasant company of our friends, in general we can remain happy.
By Neil Sheth