Anatomy of a Dinner Party

Last week our cool new neighbor Kevin invited us over for dinner. As Mormons in Mormonland, UT, it was honestly the first time a non-Mormon person has ever invited us over for dinner, and it was a, well, much hipper experience.

dinner party

Mormons love having people over for dinner. Having people over for dinner is our go-to social activity. But these dinners usually take place in the late afternoon on a Sunday and involve pot roast, mashed potatoes, big desserts, board games and playing with babies on the floor. Not exactly the hippest.

Here’s what we learned from Kevin about hosting a true dinner party (not just having people over for dinner):

  • Don’t eat before 7 pm. As new parents, we’re usually heading home from any social functions just after the clock strikes 7 pm. But since Kevin lives literally 3 feet away from our door (on the other size of the hall), we went wild and accepted the invite for a dinner party that started at 7 pm. It felt much more adult-like and cool.
  • Have fancy appetizers. Though we went at 7 pm, we didn’t eat right away. Instead we relaxed, got to know the other party guests and sampled fancy dips and pita bread to kick things off.
  • Turn the lights down low. None of the main lights in the house were on for the entire night — not even in the kitchen. Instead, Kevin had lower lights on and candles to create an atmosphere more like a nice restaurant.
  • Create an awesome playlist. Even if there are some lulls in conversation, commentary on the great music can always save the day.
  • Reduce portion sizes, increase courses. Instead of having a ridiculous amount of food that leaves guests feeling over-the-top full, there was just enough food for each course. But the key was to have multiple courses — appetizers (cucumber mint yogurt dip), salad (arugula in light vinaigrette), main dish (lemon risotto and shrimp) and a cheese platter. Fancy and guilt-free!
  • Linger longer. Rather than rushing into dessert right after a big meal, we lingered and chatted about music, traveling, food, work and shopping at DI in Utah. It was leisurely and a nice break from our typical weeknight reading in bed or watching Netflix on the couch!
  • Eat cheese. Kevin didn’t even serve dessert. Seemed like a tragedy at first, but he did serve a platter of assorted cheeses. And suddenly we felt very European and cool and in control of our sugar addiction.

(Photo via Chefstro)