Yup, you heard right. “I have been to many a Brooklyn dinner party where the guests are expected to not only provide the food and wine, but also cook and clean,” says B. Talk about a lazy host, making your guests do all the work...
Now, it’s one thing to make your own tortilla chips from scratch — not everyone has the convenience of a deep-fryer. And we’re not suggesting you make salsa from scratch, either (we’re partial to a particular brand, and sure you are, too). But when making queso, don’t call up the corner Quiznos and ask for three orders — make it at home. It’s made up of liquidy Velveeta and RO*TEL, for crying out loud!
"When my mom was dating this one guy, she invited him over for dinner," says one TDM reader. "She picked up Koo Koo Roo [a roast chicken takeout joint], threw away all the packaging, dirtied up some pots and pans, and served it on the family's nice plates." If you can't cook, well that's one thing. Just give credit where credit is due.
… And a case of Two-Buck Chuck in the pantry. Now, for us, wine and cheese might be the golden standard when having friends over for a low-key, impromptu get-together, but doesn’t stocking up on the same old, store-bought items get dull? Live a little and shake up the routine. Why not try some Baked Brie Crostini, or a more elaborate Brie en Croûte?
You know those hosts who insist on taking your coat and putting it in the master bedroom, or study, when there is a coat closet by the front door? Watch out for them, well, that coat closet at least. You never know what might come out, falling on your head, if you accidentally open the door.
And we’re not talking about a pie or cake from that amazing bakery around the corner that makes everything fresh each morning. It’s those frozen cakes and pies from the freezer section of the market. Instead, assemble something quick and easy with store-bought ingredients. Serve homemade root beer floats, mix chocolate shavings into sweetened ricotta to make a dip for cookies, or layer sliced pound cake in a bowl with whipped cream and berries and call it a trifle. Easy. And if you’re really in a pinch, buy premade cookie dough, slice it up, bake it off, and serve with ice cream — if your guests don’t devour the dough first. (It happens.)
Is your dinner party a foil for your burning desire to get rid of all those cans of beans from last year or that roll of salami from Christmas taking up room in your fridge? Or is it a chance to serve a potent punch or sangria made with about eight different kinds of liqueurs that you've had lying around, mostly empty, since your housewarming four years ago.
Experimenting with a new recipe and using guests at an upcoming dinner party as guinea pigs? Please have a fallback menu option, a plan B, should you forget about the roast, the panna cottas not set, or you find that your kids ate the vegetables for the salad. Even if the plan B is to throw in the towel and order in dinner or take everyone out on your your dime, a good host is always prepared.
Because you're too lazy to wash the ones from last time and too vain to be caught dead using the same ones twice!
No one likes to do dishes, but it's part of the responsibility of being a host. Invest in a nice set of dark-colored cloth napkins (because you know red wine or marinara sauce just might leave a mark over time) and all you need to do is throw them in the wash. Using those, rather than those flimsy paper ones, just might save you money over time.