Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: Venus193 on December 28, 2009, 09:35:21 AM

Title: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Venus193 on December 28, 2009, 09:35:21 AM
Dinner

1.  Invite guests at least a week in advance so they can plan accordingly.
2.  Keep any allergies, religious rules, and/or medical issues in mind when planning the menu.
3.  Serve a dish you have prepared successfully before.  Now is not the time to experiment unless you are a foodservice professional.
4.  Choose a dish that requires minimum attention once it meets the heat so that you spend as little time in the kitchen as possible.
5.  Be concious of portion control when shopping for groceries and drinks.  Purchase bags of ice if your freezer doesn't make enough at once.
6.  Do as much food preparation as possible in advance.  You should not be cleaning, trimming, chopping, marinating, or mixing as your guests begin arriving.
7.  Begin serving appetizers and drinks after putting away the first guests' coats.
8.  With a few major exceptions (e.g., Super Bowl Sunday) a moratorium should be called on computer use or television during the gathering.  Background music, however, is usually desirable.
9.  Enjoy your guests!
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: shhh its me on December 28, 2009, 09:55:28 AM
10 Serve the meal on time (if a meal was indicated) if your hosting through meal time you must serve a meal

11 Provide a variety, some dishes should be meat free, some cheese free ,some vegetable free and some wheat free(serving just one casserole is allowed but should be announced).  There should be a choice of  non alcoholic beverages.  Diet and regular soda's, milk, water , coffee/tea , water and one or two juices.  

12 Do not use any ingredient in everything. Just because you can incorporate spinach into every component of every course doesn't mean you should.


Edited to clarify
 Apologies I was rushed and didn't phrase that well ....   
 

I was thinking this  ......... coffee or tea , water then one sweet drink (soda or juice or iced tea) and one not sweet/low sugar drink (diet soda or milk or iced tea)  but if I used iced tea as the sweet and not sweet I'd add one non-caffeinated choice.

So for an 8 person party I'd end up with coffee , juice, water ,add your own sugar/sweeter iced tea.

Or I'd have coffee, water , regular/diet soda and juice , but I'd only buy 1or 2 liters of the diet and 1 liter of the juice based on past experience and 24 ish servings of the regular soda if it was a dry party.  I'd wouldn't have 16-24 servings of each.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: Luci on December 28, 2009, 09:59:11 AM
Wonderful!

May I add to be sure to put out a new roll of toilet paper, a new bar of soap or a filled soap dispenser, and plenty of clean handtowels in the freshly cleaned bathroom? One of my pet peeves as a guest is an unprepared powder room.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: Elle on December 28, 2009, 10:00:18 AM
14. Close up any animals in a spare bedroom - they'd probably be more comfortable in there anyway (I say this as an animal lover. But animals and crowds and littleblack dresses can be a recipe for disaster)

15. Be psychologically prepared for adapting. Guest accidentally turns the oven on "self clean" while your beef wellington is cooking? Well, pizza on fancy plates can be nice too.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: FoxPaws on December 28, 2009, 10:07:44 AM
- Make your guests aware of any travel or parking issues, such as road construction in your area, or assigned spaces for your building. Provide a phone number and answer your phone on the day of the event.

- I know the host is not required to give out party details beforehand, but I think a head's up as to the size and scope of the event is nice. It's especially helpful to the shy or socially anxious to know what we're going to be walking into.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: matf on December 28, 2009, 10:22:07 AM
Great list!

I would edit number 5 to say that a good host should be aware that guests may take more than what they expected, so they should attempt to have enough for guests to have seconds if possible. (I might not offer extra steaks, but I probably would have one or two extra chicken breasts for really hungry guests.)

16. Recognize that all of these rules are subject to change depending on your party.

Some examples from my own experience: If you've got close friends, it's just fine to offer something new with the understanding that it may not turn out well. (We have guests on whom I regularly test dishes to see if it's something that's interesting but not great or something to include in our regular lineup of dishes to make.)

Or if your friends are aware that you don't normally have soda in the house, it's perfectly okay to not offer it at dinners. (I often do not offer anything but water, coffee, or tea to guests.)

Or if you tell people in advance, you can serve only one dish. I've served just hearty veggie-heavy soups/stews with crusty bread as the meal -- but I always tell this to guests in advance.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: magdalena on December 28, 2009, 10:24:36 AM
Great list!

I'd like to just note on
11
that sodas may not be necessary depending on your culture/group. I know here in Germany, if I provide water (both sparkling and regular), a couple of juices, coffee and tea and possibly milk, everyone is happy. I keep buying sodas and no one drinks them unless one of the guests is a kid  ;D
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: camlan on December 28, 2009, 10:40:16 AM


11  There should be a choice of  non alcoholic beverages.  Diet and regular soda's, milk, water , coffee/tea , water and one or two juices. 



I'm just curious. This list has 8 items on it: Soda. Diet soda. Milk. Water. Coffee. Tea. Juice. Second juice.

Does good hosting require such a large number of choices? I always see water as a default--if you are thirsty and don't like the other choices, you can always have a glass of water. And nearly every home is able to provide a glass of water.

So, since I have tea and coffee available all the time, I would probably buy one kind of soda, because I don't drink it myself and don't want it hanging around forever after the party/dinner. If I had juice in the fridge, I'd offer that, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it for the occasion. If I'm having just one or two people over and I know one of them always drinks a specific drink, say Diet Pepsi, I'll try to get some of that.

I guess my concern is that I'm not a restaurant. I don't have room for all these choices in my small kitchen. I don't have room to store the unused drinks. Is it really bad hosting to have water, coffee, tea and perhaps one other choice?
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: magdalena on December 28, 2009, 10:43:07 AM
camlan, that's what I was thinking when I posted, I just worded it wrong... see, I'd always have some juice here, maybe two. But never, EVER soda.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Lisbeth on December 28, 2009, 11:43:33 AM
Good list!

12.  Serve meal at the stated time-if that has to change, notify your guests.  Don't keep them sitting around waiting, even for late guests.
13.  Try to steer conversation away from really sensitive or inappropriate topics that you know will make guests uncomfortable.
14.  Make sure everyone has been introduced to everyone else.
15.  Keep relationships in mind when setting up seating arrangements-if the party is formal, social units need to not sit together; otherwise, allow them to do so but don't allow anyone to be left out of conversation. Keep incompatible guests apart from each other and be prepared to have guests who refuse to abide by your rules or behave criminally escorted away-by police if necessary.
16.  Don't let anyone dominate conversation or let conversation die out; if they do, help get it restarted.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Venus193 on December 28, 2009, 11:48:25 AM
Keen, those are great rules, especially for formal dinner parties.  Wish I had a place big enough for that.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Lisbeth on December 28, 2009, 12:28:02 PM
Keen, those are great rules, especially for formal dinner parties.  Wish I had a place big enough for that.

Thanks.  I wish that too.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: marcel on December 28, 2009, 03:21:12 PM
re3: You can even say, unless you are a good cook. I have personally come to the spot where I can make dishes I never tried before when I am hosting dinner, as long as I know what it has to look/taste like when finished.

camlan, that's what I was thinking when I posted, I just worded it wrong... see, I'd always have some juice here, maybe two. But never, EVER soda.
I have this one bottle of coke at home, it has so far been put in the fridge for 3 parties. :D

May I add to be sure to put out a new roll of toilet paper, a new bar of soap or a filled soap dispenser, and plenty of clean handtowels in the freshly cleaned bathroom? One of my pet peeves as a guest is an unprepared powder room.
This can not be emphasised enough.
I hate this as a guest myself, and I have to admit, that I ran out myself last summer when I had 30 people over :-[
Luckily it is only a 5 minute round trip to the night store, but still.


Keen, those are great rules, especially for formal dinner parties.  Wish I had a place big enough for that.

Thanks.  I wish that too.
The reason I love my house is the huge kitchen, that is big enough for a 14 person dining table.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: shhh its me on December 28, 2009, 06:37:12 PM


11  There should be a choice of  non alcoholic beverages.  Diet and regular soda's, milk, water , coffee/tea , water and one or two juices. 



I'm just curious. This list has 8 items on it: Soda. Diet soda. Milk. Water. Coffee. Tea. Juice. Second juice.

Does good hosting require such a large number of choices? I always see water as a default--if you are thirsty and don't like the other choices, you can always have a glass of water. And nearly every home is able to provide a glass of water.

So, since I have tea and coffee available all the time, I would probably buy one kind of soda, because I don't drink it myself and don't want it hanging around forever after the party/dinner. If I had juice in the fridge, I'd offer that, but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it for the occasion. If I'm having just one or two people over and I know one of them always drinks a specific drink, say Diet Pepsi, I'll try to get some of that.

I guess my concern is that I'm not a restaurant. I don't have room for all these choices in my small kitchen. I don't have room to store the unused drinks. Is it really bad hosting to have water, coffee, tea and perhaps one other choice?
  Apologies I was rushed and didn't phrase that well ....   
 

I was thinking this  .........So coffee or tea , water then one sweet drink (soda or juice or iced tea) and one not sweet/low sugar drink (diet soda or milk or iced tea)  but if I used iced tea as the sweet and not sweet I'd add one non-caffeinated choice.

So for an 8 person party I'd end up with coffee , juice, water ,add your own sugar/sweeter iced tea.

Or I'd have coffee, water , regular/diet soda and juice , but I'd only buy 1or 2 liters of the diet and 1 liter of the juice based on past experience and 24 ish servings of the regular soda if it was a dry party.  I'd wouldn't have 16-24 servings of each.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting
Post by: cicero on December 29, 2009, 04:53:04 AM


15. Be psychologically prepared for adapting. Guest accidentally turns the oven on "self clean" while your beef wellington is cooking? Well, pizza on fancy plates can be nice too.
POD. In GENERAL be flexible. yes it's your house, your rules. but sometimes a little bit of flexibility (assuming that your guest is not purposely being toxic) will go a loooong way. For example, when I plan a meal, I plan all aspects of the meal so that they go together. and sometimes a guest will show up with bread, or cake, or dessert or something - and i would be well within my rights to say "lovely! we'll enjoy this on tuesday" and put it away (and i have done that on ocassion), but often it wouldn't kill me to just serve 'their' dessert alongside or instead of mine. (again, not saying you have to, but if your dear old aunt brings her signature jelly roll, then why not?)
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Vegemite Girl on December 29, 2009, 05:04:05 AM
Oh, another tip: Have some non-alcoholic choices available, as well as the alcoholic drinks. Nothing makes a non-drinker feel more uncomfortable than having to choose between water or milk when the drinkers have several wines, beers, and spirits. There are lots of reasons not to drink - we're people too!
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Bethalize on December 29, 2009, 05:13:54 AM
Here is my contribution:

Clean sinks, clean loos, soap provided and clean hand towels. Not doing that is just -urgh! Hand towels in the kitchen are helpful for when people are trying to be helpful.

Put out napkins even if they are paper. It's desperately annoying when one doesn't have a napkin and can't jump up to grab kitchen roll or wash hands like one can do at home.

Have a separate serving utensil for every dish, even  a separate knife for every cheese.

Cold water and wine are quite sufficient as accompaniments for dinner but it's nice to provide alternatives for non-drinkers. 
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Lisbeth on January 04, 2010, 11:11:27 AM
Don't expect guests to help with set-up or clean-up.  If they offer assistance with either or both, you have the options of accepting or declining gracefully.  If you accept, remember that they are not slaves or hired help.  Don't expect them to do all the work.

If children are invited:
Arrange in advance for adult supervision, but don't spring this on an adult or teenage guest-allow them to decline, and don't split up social units to provide it.  If necessary, get an outside babysitter or don't invite the children.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: NotCinderell on January 11, 2010, 10:06:48 AM
Believe it or not, I take exception with rule #1.  I do realize that it's to hosts' advantage to leave guests with ample time to plan, otherwise they run the risk of guests already having plans.  However, we're always being taught that an invitation is not a summons, and any polite person should be able to take no for an answer.  Is it really rude to call up a few friends on Wednesday and say, "Hey, they had prime rib on sale half price at the grocery store today, and I decided to buy one.  Can you come to dinner on Friday?"
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: magdalena on January 11, 2010, 10:20:00 AM
NotCinderell, I agree. I was just at a lovely and yummy and great dinner this Saturday (fondue of fillet of beef and pork, chicken breast and ostrich) - and we got the invitation on Thursday.

As we had time, we were happy to say yes and a great time was hd by all from 8 pm till 4 am :P
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: blarg314 on January 19, 2010, 02:57:21 AM

For beverages, my rule is to be sure to offer something sugar free, something caffeine free and something non fizzy. That can usually ensure that everyone has something to drink.  I also like providing a 'nice' option for non drinkers in lieu of wine with dinner - sparkling juice, cranberry cocktail.

Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Venus193 on January 19, 2010, 06:44:27 AM
I'm a big fan of the concept of Mocktails.  Mix equal parts pomegranate and apple juice for a drink that passes for wine.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Lisbeth on January 19, 2010, 11:37:51 AM
Keep computers turned off and minimize use of cell phones and electronic devices during dinner.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on May 20, 2011, 01:45:06 PM


15. Be psychologically prepared for adapting. Guest accidentally turns the oven on "self clean" while your beef wellington is cooking? Well, pizza on fancy plates can be nice too.
POD. In GENERAL be flexible. yes it's your house, your rules. but sometimes a little bit of flexibility (assuming that your guest is not purposely being toxic) will go a loooong way. For example, when I plan a meal, I plan all aspects of the meal so that they go together. and sometimes a guest will show up with bread, or cake, or dessert or something - and i would be well within my rights to say "lovely! we'll enjoy this on tuesday" and put it away (and i have done that on ocassion), but often it wouldn't kill me to just serve 'their' dessert alongside or instead of mine. (again, not saying you have to, but if your dear old aunt brings her signature jelly roll, then why not?)

Oh my. This hits a button for me. I can relate to the 'toxic' reference. When we had casual summer cookouts, my SIL used to 1) change my menu by going through my husband to do it instead of me (Joe doesn't want such-and-such; can we do x instead?); 2) bring around 15 Wal-Mart bags of food to my home, including items (ice cream) that we asked her to not bring. This is the same SIL that I saw snoop through her nephew's wallet while he was in the shower, deny her sister stomach pain medicine & tell her son that she deserved to suffer, asked me if my back hurt because my boobs were big, sift through the trash in the emergency room while her sister lay in the bed (trying to figure out what meds they were giving her sister), picked up a piece of sausage that fell on the floor, washed it off & put it back in to cook some more in front of her guests, oh my, I should stop, I could go on and on.

I dread inviting her to my home due to her controlling nature. Although, she has backed off since I confronted her about taking over my home when she visits. She is much more respectful now. Although she did complain that I spent too much time with my grandkids and not enough time with her at the last family get together at our home.

Bottom line: when invited to a dinner (casual or formal) be respectful of the hostess's wishes (menu, space, timeline, choices in general and anything else). Be very careful when making suggestions, weighing the pro's and con's. Don't assume anything. There may be a valid reason why the hostess chose what she or he chose.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: snowdragon on December 30, 2012, 02:18:57 PM
Don't expect guests to help with set-up or clean-up.  If they offer assistance with either or both, you have the options of accepting or declining gracefully.  If you accept, remember that they are not slaves or hired help.  Don't expect them to do all the work.

If children are invited:
Arrange in advance for adult supervision, but don't spring this on an adult or teenage guest-allow them to decline, and don't split up social units to provide it.  If necessary, get an outside babysitter or don't invite the children.

If children are invited it is up to the parents to supervise not a host to take on additional expense to provide a sitter.
Title: Re: The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner
Post by: Shoo on December 30, 2012, 02:52:08 PM
If your house is child unfriendly, or there will be absolutely nothing for little ones to do, then do yourself (and their parents) a favor and don't even invite the kids.  There's nothing worse than being a kid in a house with nothing at all to do, except for maybe being the homeowner with kids in your house, and nothing for them to do.  Bad situation all around.