20.11.15

Prep Like A Boss - Host Like A Diva


There are the naysayers who claim that dinner parties are on their way out, what with busy lives and the imminent stress of having a bunch of guests over. We are not buying it. For me, it’s always been a great joy having a bunch of friends over for some good food, drinks, music and conversations. If planned well, dinner soirees can be a simple and stress free affair, and a whole load of fun for everyone, including the host.

My entire family has been brought up to host, and to host well. It’s practically embedded in our gene pool. My brother and I had parents who loved hosting. My mother didn’t throw big parties, but was a gracious and generous hostess. Any guests to our home were treated to a table full of delicacies, prepared with time tested family recipes. My brother’s wife and I have carried forward this tradition, with pride and joy.

For years, our friends and family have come over for a series of elaborate, homemade dinners and tea parties. It’s no secret that my family takes a certain pride in the knowledge that many of our loved ones wait eagerly for an invite from us. With years of practice, we are now able to host warm, intimate parties, where our guests can relax and enjoy an unusual spread of foods, usually catering to a specific theme. Over the years, we have devised our own little pot of tips and tricks to improve the process of hosting an impressive house party, with minimum hassle and stress.

One of my primary tricks is to create an extensive shopping list, based on whatever I plan to cook. And I try and pick up everything in one go, so I don’t have to make several time-consuming trips to the market. My go-to store for such occasions is Hypercity, where in adjacent aisles I can pick up oven fresh breads, dips, an extensive selection of cheeses, drinks, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, party supplies, serving dishes, condiments, sauces, canned foods, and just about everything you can possibly need for a dazzling party. 





My sister-in-law and I just take the kids with us while we shop. My young nephew, a toddler aged two, just sits in a large trolley that we push around, while my ten years old niece gets to give suggestions on what might make some interesting party food! It’s usually a smooth ride, with carefully arranged produce sections, and on most occasions, I can easily maneuver through my entire party shopping list in less than an hour’s time. While it’s a great idea to stay as close to your shopping list as possible, keep some space for flexibility if you are shopping at store like Hypercity. It will usually spring up some pleasant surprise that you’d want to include in your own party menu. 





Our last dinner get-together was planned just a few days before the dinner date. We barely had any time left, so Sister-In-Law and I moved in with the kids, with the toddler happily settled in the trolley, with his favourite “Mishti Doi” straight off the shelf. We bought a selection of cheeses for a cheese platter, some avocados for the guacamole, some frozen foods, cream, condensed milk, cut fruits, fresh homemade pasta, pre-cut vegetables, an assortment of dips, breads, and some home d├ęcor supplies. We even found a large stack of Maggi, and proceeded to gleefully pose for some selfies, and my niece made plans for making all her faourite noodle recipes with it. The queue at the payment counter was long but moved fast. Like I said before, we were done with our entire dinner shopping within an hour, and that too with two kids to keep us company. Since the Hypercity store at Vashi has an exit straight into the parking lot, we could easily unload the bags into the car, and then went back into the mall for some quality time with the kids.

You will soon see some interesting recipes from the parties we will host over the next few months. Whatever the theme and the recipe, the process will always be the same – plan a menu, shop for the supplies, prepare whatever can be made in advance, do the final cooking, keep the house ready, and welcome your guests with a smile. The clearer your planning, the smoother your hosting skills will get. There is no greater hosting joy than having a house full of guests enjoying food served by you, while you are able to attend to them fresh and relaxed. And the starting point for all this will always be the extensive planning.

Most importantly, however, is the fact that guests come over for your company and conversation. With a little advance planning, some intelligent food prep, and a good playlist, you can create an evening they will enjoy wholeheartedly. Before you know it, you will proudly be wearing that coveted "Hostess With The Mostess crown", while also doing your bit to keep the dinner parties alive and well.

1 comment:

  1. Well said dear!! Dinner parties with bunch of friends is super fun. I just love to plan dinner parties with friends. Well, on my last birthday we had invited our close family friends on dinner party at corporate events NYC, and it was a great dinner party. Everyone enjoyed food there.

    ReplyDelete

Hope you are thoroughly enjoying your tryst with the Wonderland madness! Share your whims here. We are open to brickbats and love...