Reason for Not Eating Out #6: Dinner parties are contagious

Here’s what I ate on Sunday:

Chicken chilaquiles with green sauce and black beans for brunch made by Sam and Richard.

Baked brie and mango spread on crackers for a dinner appetizer made by Sean and Meredith.

Chicken with tarragon cream sauce and softened carrots with cinnamon for dinner by Sean and Meredith.

Viennese meringue pie filled with fresh berries and cognac whipped cream for dessert by Sean and Meredith.

And what, you ask, did I do to possibly deserve to be served this fabulous, restaurant-caliber array of food? Food so tasty it could have only been made with the genuine TLC of people whom you actually know and like? I made food for them.

Although I daresay I may have to make some better food for them sometime very, very soon. Which takes me to my case in point, that cooking parties are a highly contagious strain of the delicious dinner disease.

My parents used to exchange eating out favors with their friends when I was little. It’s customary with the Chinese that one couple or person pay for the entire check of a restaurant meal (which could be for a party of several couples or families), usually the couple/person who initiated the outing. However, regardless of whoever initiated the meal, it was hideously bad class to let that person pay without putting up a very good, often physically engaging, fight for the check. After years of watching grown people spring for the bill as if tackling a football, being sent on clandestine missions to collect the bill from the cashier before it could be brought to the table and other such strategems, I have reservations. First of all, not everybody prefers the institution of treating these days–or of splitting the bill down the middle, or paying one’s portion to the nickel and dime. And then the tip, oh the tip. Any way you dice it, things can get complicated. (Maybe not that complicated–but have you ever eaten with new friends and when the bill came, all looked at one another with blank faces for a good pause before figuring out what to say/do?)

Dinner parties, on the other hand, are much more soothing. Not everybody might like to host them, but everyone does enjoy them. And that’s fine. But when you combine a few people who enjoy hosting as well as going to them, you’ve got dinner party fever.

I very much enjoyed a rare day of not having to lift a finger for anything I ate and only paying for it by way of beverages brought to share–Orangina for the brunch, and wine for dinner. Cost calculator? Under $20. And no risk of injury from check football.

15 Responses

  1. Christine

    Dinner parties are half the reason I moved to Brooklyn! The fact that I can comfortably fit more than 10 people in my apartment still makes me giddy over 2 years after leaving my Hell’s Kitchen breadbox. Just last night I had my 8 co-workers over for a pot-luck w/ fried rice balls, empanadas, assorted cheeses, loads of wine, and a drunken game of Pop Culture trivia pursuit. We had a fun time for hours, and spent far less than if we had all gone to Blue Ribbon.

  2. Meredith

    Seriously, though, Sean did about 95% of the work there. 🙂

  3. Yvo

    That all looks so delicious! I love throwing dinner parties, and I guess this sounds selfish but my friends tend not to be the hosting kind, which makes me sad. And less inclined to throw as many dinner parties as I’d like.

  4. Susan in Italy

    Glorious stuff, especially the chilaquiles (boy do I miss Mexican!) and the meringue torte. I think you have absolutely the right idea, entertaining at home and going over to friends’ houses beats restaurant dining any day. I have a group of friends who love to cook so weekends usually mean eating with them at somebody’s house. I’d be hard pressed to think of more than 1 really good restaurant in Milan since I pretty much cook better than the chefs at restaurants where I can afford to eat. (More a testament to my poverty than my cooking abilities).

  5. emma

    cool blog!

  6. Tima

    nice photos of this blog

  7. […] the few times I’ve had it — in restaurants way back when, and, more specifically, from the time my friend Sam made it. I’ve also only had it with a green tomatillo-based chile sauce, but […]

  8. Tiffany

    Just came across your site & found the pictures of the meringue torte. I’ve been looking for a recipe for this everywhere and would be so grateful if you’d send it my way! Thanks!

  9. Joyce Hanson

    Oh good, I’m not the only latecomer to the party on this blog. Speaking of dinner parties, just 2 weeks ago I threw an intimate little dinner party for 6 and did all the cooking (except for dessert–our friends brought dessert). I made BBQ chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, pasta with pesto (a bit of overkill, perhaps), and a roast onion-chickpea-wheatberry dish so yummy that one of my vegetarian friends polished off the rest of what was in the bowl so there were no leftovers.

    Like magic, our circle of friends has now caught dinner party fever! Tonight, we’ve got a potluck supper goin’ on in Brooklyn, with a pirate theme, for some strange reason….What do pirates eat?

  10. […] more inspiration? Check out Cathy’s reason of the month. This site also has some fun dinner party at home ideas, which I love. Let us know the best or worst meal you’ve concocted once […]

  11. […] the coldness factor for now, and admitting first-off that dinner parties, supper clubs and all sorts of communal cooking activities can create just the same lags in time […]

  12. Stefanie

    I love, love, love your blog! Have been addicted since I found it!
    Anyway I can get the recipe from Sam and Richard for the chicken chilaquiles with green sauce? It looks to die for (as do so many other dishes I’ve seen!) Yum!

  13. Disabled Beneficiaries

    This bloger gets my vote. I just love the joyous act of cooking for one’s friends and family.

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