I believe that entertaining is a true skill that is best acquired through practice. In my 25 years on earth 4 years of which I spent in college at the University of Wisconsin and 3 + years living in New York City, I have done my fair share of entertaining. From my first attempt at homemade gnocchi in my junior year to my latest rack of lamb triumph at a Shabbat dinner, I’ve certainly come a long way. My friends know that I am more likely to invite them over for a home cooked meal than trying out a new restaurant. And this is just how much I love to entertain.
Entertaining guests involves being personable and efficient. When entertaining guests you are to be selfless, you are there merely for their pleasure since they are your guests. It is important to take great care in greeting your guests and show your appreciation for their participation. But in order to be able to care for your guests, efficiency is key. You must be sure to prepare what you are serving in advance so that you are able to mingle and enjoy yourself. After all, this is your party.
Without one or either of those traits or skills, you have no future as an entertainer. And, I would think a lot of people chose not to entertain because of how much work it involves and these three fears…
Top Three Fears of Entertaining
- Money. How can I throw a party without it costing me a fortune?
- Food. Where will I find the time or the space to prepare the food?
- Time. How can I manage to entertain my guests while trying to serve the food?
Though these are common fears when making the decision whether or not to entertain, I have a few tips that can help you through what can often be a stressful time. The goal is to make entertaining not only appear but actually become simple and seamless.
Tips for Stress-Free Entertaining
- Keep it Simple. Guests will be impressed by even the slightest of efforts. If you have a small kitchen or a limited budget, try to pick dishes that require little prep time and ingredients.
- Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. Be sure to review your recipes a week before your engagement. It is important to prepare a portion of your recipes in advance so that you are not rushed the day of.
- Serve Yourself. Instead of individually serving your guests, set up your party buffet style on stylish eco-friendly and low cost dishware.
- Practice Makes Perfect. The more you entertain, the more organized you will become. Practice making an easy two course meal (salad and main course) for friends and take it from there.