Don’t let fear of not being perfect prevent you from entertaining in your home. Gatherings of family and friends provide real nourishment beyond that contained in the food. Hospitality makes memories.
That was the message that cookbook author and lifestyle consultant Ginny McCormack delivered to a couple of hundred women (and a few men) at the Knoxville Symphony League’s spring luncheon at Cherokee Country Club.
“Recipes are important. The food needs to be good. But it’s the time that really matters,” McCormack said. “You don’t have to have a 12-course meal. It’s the gathering together of your family and friends that will be remembered.”
McCormack offered several tips for nervous hosts:
- Start small. Organize a potluck, where everyone brings something. Or a progressive dinner, where each host is responsible for one course.
- Have an arsenal of your favorite tried-and-true recipes that you know are crowd pleasers. Don’t experiment with new recipes on nights you are entertaining.
- Have supplies such as cheeses, cured meats, mustards, chutneys and dried fruit on hand so you can put together a casual charcuterie platter on the spur of the moment for an impromptu drop-by guest.
- Use cloth napkins and candles. “That sets the proper attitude,” she said.
- Have music playing at all times. Select music that goes with the food you are serving. For instance, play zydeco if you are serving gumbo or Santana if you are having Mexican food.
Above all, just do it. “People don’t entertain because they feel too much pressure,” McCormack said. “If we wait for the perfect time, we’ll probably never do it.”
In conclusion, she smiled, “Everyone should host a dinner party every once in a while.”
Bairos told the League gathering that a symphony orchestra “can be a gravitational force, drawing to itself talent in many forms.”
Here’s a 15-second sampling of Gabriel Lefkowitz’s performance.
Do you have any tips for hosting a dinner party even if you are nervous about it?
Beautiful post for spring, Cynthia!
Here are my tips:
Any blunders will be forgotten if you finish with a knockout dessert!
And, as Julia always said, never apologize. Sail on!
I agree with you, Melinda. People love to be entertained in other folks’ homes. They are not judging you or expecting a dinner they would have in a five-star restaurant. It’s a whole different experience. And, as the author said, it’s the warmth of the hospitality that matters. Another tip: always reciprocate. It’s surprising how many people don’t.
What gorgeous tables! And oh, those fried green tomatoes! Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing this event and a message that I need to hear over and over: Just entertain and quit worrying! We have put off having folks over since I can’t remember when. I just need to dust off the dishes and get with it!!!
I violate her second tip ALL the time. I love experimenting with guests. This luncheon looks absolutely beautiful. Having different table designers is a great idea. Love Betsey’s pansy!
Rusha: Thanks. I am going to check in with you in a little while and see if you have done that!
Gay: I do, too. But maybe if you are nervous about entertaining, you would be more comfortable with a tried and true recipe.
Serve wine. Lots and lots of wine.
Glad to see someone carries their own little Tabasco bottle.
I agree with the tip to serve lots of wine!!!
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