Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Small Dinner Party

What's not to love about The Small Dinner Party?Especially when it is a little (don't panic now - just a tad) - formal in presentation.

The Small Dinner Party should not be an uptight affair. Never overdone. What it could/should be is just a bit more stylish than a crowd of people eating out of serving dishes, using paper plates/cups, plastic cutlery. Nothing at all wrong with that, mind you. It's still a party with good times to be had. It just ain't The Small Dinner Party.

For The Small Dinner Party, you bring out the good dishes, whether they be stoneware or china, lacquerware, glass or mix and match. Use drinking vessels that are a pleasure to hold. REAL cutlery. Serve indescribably tasty food. Refreshing drinks. It's taking the time to set up an honest meal and inviting a handful of good folk over to share it. A winning combination of all these factors can turn staging a dinner into a creative, memorable, delicious event.

The thoughtfully prepared dining experience can be every bit as enjoyable as sitting alone and eating KFC with your hands, straight out of the 'bucket'. More thrills than wiping the residual fried chicken grease from your mouth with those skimpy paper napkins. To be sure, The Small Dinner Party can be oodles more satisfying. I repeat: oodles.

Let's plan The Small Dinner Party, then.

Ingredients for The Small Dinner Party

Guests, 4 to 8 in number - it would be nice to dress up a bit for the occasion (as in no shoes, no shirt, no service!).

Everyone seated together at a dining table (eating while standing is for crowded art gallery openings or sporty tail gate parking lot parties).

The dining table is set with coordinated dishware (not necessarily matching or too terribly formal). It's a pleasure to spend time at a table decked out in color, sheen and texture.

Mood lighting (As I get older, I really appreciate being bathed in soft lighting).

Tasty fare, any style, so long as it is prepared with the freshest ingredients and 'plated' (in lovely/smart-looking/novel serving dishes) to tempt the senses even before the first mouthful of food reaches the palate.

Mood music (be it your fave rock tunes, jazzy jazz, classically classical or what have you), played not-too-loudly in the background - is optional.

At The Small Dinner Party, being mindful of a classy, fun or even a themed presentation is an important part of the overall enjoyment.

Other Small Dinner Party Must-Haves:
Stimulating conversation,
on a variety of topics (effortlessly and seamlessly incorporated into conversation throughout the evening), to enliven the group repartee.

Every guest feeling comfortable with participating in quick n' lively banter of ideas/anecdotes (those who 'monologue ad nauseum' are cordially NOT invited).

Active Listening (apart from appreciating the tastiness of the meal,
active listening is the responsibility of every guest at The Small Dinner Party). DO invite friends who are capable of balanced exchanges in conversation; who have at one time or other demonstrated the unique skill of integrating others into easy chitchat. The Ho-Hum Braggadocio, who speaks almost exclusively of him/her self, need not apply for invitation to The Small Dinner Party. He/she can stay home - alone - with that bucket of KFC.

Insight (conversing with others, there are always numerous opportunities to learn and discover).

Lots of good-natured laughter (for a good chuckle heals the heart and soul).

The Small Dinner Party.

Your invitation is in the mail.


House Dreams said...

Uh oh, I knew I was missing and cocktail forks.
At least I use cloth napkins, right?

Conn said...

white wine, red wine and champagne?
does everyone surrender keys at the door and get a guest room?

baffle said...

Yes, House Dreams - I notice that you use cloth napkins even for breakfast and the (occasional?) piece of pie or cake.

Wine and champagne optional. Even root beer floats would be suitable for the more casual type Small Dinner Party, Conn - so long as they are served in suitable soda fountain type glassware.

After The Small Dinner Party, everyone should say thank you and go home. Otherwise, it's B&B time and that takes all the fun out of The Small Dinner Party - with guests that never leave!

baffle said...

the table setting shown above is just to illustrate what CAN be. I wouldn't go so far...
Hey - did ya notice the special setting for the after dinner cigarettes?

Liz said...

So when we having the dinner party??? I can't wait for some warmer evenings to do something like this outside.

However, I've been putting those wine glasses in the wrong place, but then I usually only serve a white and/or red.

And sometimes I love just sitting down in our dining room with the china and pizza......