I love to host dinner parties, but I really don't like doing all the work. My husband is this huge foodie. I make a gourmet meal almost every day. To be honest, I like to eat well, and he does do his fair share of the cooking, but after a while, I'm over it! (Especially when he NEVER does the dishes, even when he cooks.) So over my many years of entertaining...
I have come up with a few tips and tricks to pull off an outstanding spread, while making my guests do the heavy lifting. Call it a dinner party for slackers.
- Take advantage of the "What can I bring?" question. As soon as the invite comes out of my mouth, my potential dinner guest will ask, "What can I bring?" Always be really humble in your response. "Oh, no need to bring anything. Just yourself." People really don't want to do that, especially when you're coming across so nice. "No, seriously. What can I bring?" And I'll say, "OK then, just a bottle of wine or some dessert." And nine times out of 10, they bring both!
- Compliment them on their cooking. Whenever I visit a friend or relative and taste one of their dishes, especially one that's REALLY GOOD, I always make a BIG fuss. "Oh, this spinach artichoke dip is amazing! Can you send me the recipe?" "Your cheesecake is so creamy, how do you do it?" I lay it on so thick, that they CAN'T WAIT to bring it over to my place! "Oh, what can I bring?" (And I give them the whole "you don't have to bring anything ploy.") They always say," Oh, I remember how much you liked my spinach dip. I'll bring that." Works every time!
- Find the best prepared food you can and pass it off as your own. There is this bakery down the street with from me that makes the best sausage and pepperoni breads. I reheat it, slice it and serve it with leftover homemade tomato sauce. (The one I made for my foodie husband.) When people ask you for the recipe for the breads tell them you found it on Pinterest, and that the sauce came from a jar. They'll go home and try to do it themselves and fail miserably, which will only cement your amazing home cook rep. But only do this with guests who are bad cooks, so you don't have to go to their house to eat because, you should...
- Have good food, but not AMAZING food or you won't get return invites! Early on in my dinner party career, I made the mistake of cooking gourmet meals for EVERYONE, no matter who came over. We also have a garden. Farm-to-table is the norm in our house. For the longest time, we would have friends over for dinner, but the invitation was never returned, and then a close friend confided in me. "I can't have you guys over to my place, we only do hot dogs and burgers." So I nipped it in the bud! What's the point of cooking for people, if they won't cook for you in return?
- Serve LOTS of alcohol (responsibly)! When you get your guests drunk, they're a lot more fun, and they don't taste anything, so you can give them your gourmet leftovers, and they won't know the difference.
"Slacker Mom's Guide" is a collaboration of MomCaveTV.com. This episode was written by and stars Dina Drew. Dina Drew, mother of 2, is a professional actress who has appeared on shows like "Limitless," "Law & Order: SVU," "Blue Bloods," "White Collar" and "Rescue Me;" as well as dozens of TV commercials. She is also a writer/blogger/ photographer/producer/meme maker and frequent contributor to MomCaveTV.com.
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