Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

The Basics of Good Hosting -- Dinner

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Vegemite Girl:
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!

Bethalize:
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. 

Lisbeth:
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.

NotCinderell:
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?"

magdalena:
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

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