So we’re gonna start with the real-ness, here:
Realness, people. It’s even blurry because I was tired, sorry bout that. :)
But also the sign of a good party, if there are lots of dishes and plates and cutlery and cups in the sink…..it means people ate and drank and made merry!
So, when I wrote about Feasting last week, I didn’t mean multiple courses and all sorts of fancy dinner accoutrements and fancy things like that.
No. What I meant was a dinner in your home with other people!
It doesn’t have to be complicated! You don’t have to have everything perfect!
Let me tell you what I did.
First: Invite the people
My table only seats four adults (unless I put the leaf in, which is at my parents’ house). So inviting three people was the max I could do for a sit down dinner. I checked with my friends, we picked a day that worked, which was also the day before the Assumption, so, Assumption Party!
Otherwise it would’ve been a late St. Dominic’s Day Party. :) OR a something something feast day party. :) We’re good at naming things around here.
Second: Figure out the menu
I didn’t want to make anything terribly elaborate. I always make Guinness Cake for dessert….
For dinner, I made Rachael Ray’s Drunken Tuscan Pasta, which is really yummy, and easy to serve to people. I don’t always like making pasta for a dinner party because you can’t really make it ahead. But then as I was making this, I remembered why I like it—it’s just so dang good. (I”ll give you the recipe.)
I didn’t do all of this myself. One of the guests brought sparkling water and a bottle of wine, and another brought the makings of an appetizer and a big, lovely salad, which she made at my place. It was so fun having someone to cook with in my kitchen! It’s so much more convenient here than it was at the old place, because I have an island instead of a “peninsula” sort of thing, so people can cook in multiple places!
Fourth: Make a plan
I wrote out my list of ingredients and went grocery shopping a week before (and then two days before, for the things I had to get sort of fresh, like the portobello tops) . The cake can be—indeed should be—made the day before, so I did that. That way all I had to do was cook the pasta when people were here. A few hours before everyone’s arrival I chopped rosemary, sliced mushrooms, and portioned out red pepper flakes into my little prep bowls. This just makes everything easier when people get there.
Fifth: Try to make it pretty
“try” being the key word here….
I used my pasta serving bowls, which I got at Crate and Barrel eons ago, but are perfect for this. I even dug out place mats and real napkins, because, hey, why not?
It doesn’t have to be perfect!
I didn’t have wine glasses. People drank wine out of mugs! It was FINE! We used the same forks for salad and pasta! It was fine! (We did have different forks for the cake, though, because I had enough for that!)
The house was spic and span because it was the first party in the new hours, and we had house blessing (one of the guests was a priest) and the guests hadn’t seen Orchard House before so I wanted it to look nice. But really, I still didn’t go nuts. I didn’t polish all the fixtures until they sparkled. I didn’t freak out about water spots on the windows from a rain storm.
The point of a party is to get together and have fun and celebrate!
So, yes, make sure your house isn’t, you know, unsafe! :) Make sure it’s hygenic! :)
Make sure it’s comfortable, that people have places to sit, but really, don’t worry about everything looking like House Beautiful because it’s not going to happen!
And even if I didn’t make dinner and we just had Chipotle take out, it would’ve been fun. If the food doesn’t turn out, or you burn it, get a pizza and just chill. It’ll be fine.
I’ve found that having people over to share food and conversation (and prayer!) is a great way to build community, to bolster your feelings, to feel that you’re not alone, and that living the Christian life is a pretty great thing to do. We need community!
So go out there and plan a party!