Are You a Lazy Host?

The shortcuts you should make — and those to forget about — when having guests over
Ordering in

Ordering in

We recently came across this discussion on Yelp where a reader had asked if it was OK to order in Pizza Hut when having people over. Now, there are times when ordering pizza in is a must — shall we start with Super Bowl Sunday, for example? But unless you’re serving it in small wedges as an appetizer, the golden standard here is that when you’ve asked guests to come over for dinner, you’re doing the cooking. What are you, a lazy host?

Many hosts consider it the ultimate dinner party sin — ordering in, doctoring it up, and calling it homemade. Yet that is just what one reader, B., did once. He was hosting his annual New Year’s Eve party. There was plenty of bubbly to go around, and guests, as always, were eagerly awaiting the delicious spread that taunted them until just after midnight. This particular year, he had told his guests he spent all day preparing a decadent, Asian-inspired spread. Yet one guest, E., was unconvinced. “Later that night,” E. explains, “I went into the kitchen and found all of the take-out containers stashed inside of the garbage can.” B. was caught red-handed.

So, are you a lazy host? Take our quiz below and find out.


1. When entertaining guests, you serve:

a) Brie en croûte, made fresh that morning, à la Martha Stewart.

b) A selection of cheeses and fruits from the market, served with crackers and a mix of candied nuts on a pretty platter from your cupboard.

c) Mushroom risotto balls and spanakopita from the freezer section of your market.


2. Your typical dinner party menu often features:

a) Braised short ribs and homemade polenta.

b) Spaghetti from the pantry and with a Bolognese purchased from your local Italian market.

c) Chinese takeout, served on your own platters.


3. Before a party, straightening up often means:

a) Mopping all the floors, dusting all the surfaces in your house (even under the cable box), and steam-cleaning the sofa.

b) Vacuuming and cleaning the counters. Because it’s only going to get dirtier.

c) Buying new hand towels.


4. When friends are coming over, you will ask them to bring:

a) A smile on their face, because you’ve got everything else handled.

b) A bottle of wine (or two) to share.

c) One course of the meal — and an apron (because they’ll be cooking and cleaning).


If you've answered mostly c's: Sign up for the Entertain newsletter ASAP. You need some serious help. And read on.

If you've answered mostly b's: You're dancing the line between the host with the most and a dinner party disaster, so you better read up on what not to do.

If you've answered mostly a's: You're far from a lazy host. Want to write for us?

Click here to see the Are You a Lazy Host Slideshow.