A Conversation for How to Plan a Dinner Party

Dinner Parties Student Style

Post 1

Jeny (Professor of Cheesology, Apostrophe Executive)

When I joined the ranks of postgraduate studentship, I suddenly found that I was invited to a lot more 'dinner parties'.

Student dinner parties tend to be quite informal affairs - mostly because nobody has quite enough chairs, let alone plates and cutlery.

I you want quite an informal affair, a theme is always good. Pick a particular country (Mexico, China, Italy etc)and base all the food, and drinks if possible on that. Make a couple of big dishes and serve buffet style. Make sure you put out plenty of accompaniments. This way you don't necessarily have to worry about a starter or a dessert. If you do feel the need for these, big pots of soup are great, as they can be made in advance and reheated when needed. For example a Mexican style meal might consist of:

Chilli Con Carne
Corn on the cob smiley - corncob

and so on.

Serve with lots of tequila sunrises and margharitas.

Another successful theme has been to base all the food on recipes from one particular cook book or chef.

If you want music, consider asking guests to bring along some of their favourites. That way, no one person's musical tastes get ridiculed. It's also one less thing for you to worry about.

In terms of taboo subjects, the key has got to be to pick your guests carefully. As long as everyone gets along reasonably well, and is aware in advance of a potential flashpoint (religion, politics etc) there shouldn't be a problem. Some of the best evenings can be had when involved in a lively debate about some current event or controversial topic.

I don't know whether this will apply to everybody, but at student dinner parties, there tend to be party games. These can be quite grown-up (Trivial Pursuit), slightly less grown-up (Pictionary) and downright childish (drunken Twister leaps to mind).

The most important thing to remember is not to panic. As long as your guests are also your friends, they shouldn't care if the potatoes are a bit underdone, or your best laid plans fell apart, and consequently dinner will be an hour later than planned. Remember that people are there to see you, not a gourmet style meal to rival that in top London restaurants. If you enjoy yourself and relax, the chances are your guests will too.

Dinner Parties Student Style

Post 2


All the points I was going to make and more!

Formal affairs with smart dress and large tables can be a bit uptight in my opinion. And as far as taboo subjects go, bring em on. Lively debates make the evening so much more interesting.

As mentioned in the previous post, Trivial Pursuits can be a good game. It keeps the evening flowing cos theres something to do but you still talk and have a laugh whilst you are doing it.

Dinner Parties Student Style

Post 3

Julie Andrews

I threw a dinner party for my old friends where we all got really fancied up (ultra-formal) and relived our prom days. It was fun, though make sure all the guests are friends or a nostalgia party could turn sour.

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