Monday, April 20, 2009

Dinner with Friends~

~Brie with caramelized onions~

Getting together with friends you haven't seen in a while is such fun! There is so much to catch up on. You feel so comfortable, sharing stories, wine and delicious dishes, you can't help but wonder why we don't do this more often.

We think back and remember gatherings in the past, laughing about mix-ups in arrival times, or when a new dessert recipe didn't turn out right and we had Sara Lee from the market!

It's a time to catch up on children leaving home for college, a new and promising career move, the launch of a new business or a new child or grandchild on the way.

One of the things that I want to focus on is getting together with friends more often. You don't have to plan weeks in advance, or have your house spotless, or plan everything to a "T". Sometimes the best, the most memorable occasions can be those that are impromptu, spur-of-the-moment.

Plan a simple main dish accompanied by a fresh salad. When you invite friends, don't they almost always ask-"what can we bring"? Don't be shy- remind them of that wonderful peach cobbler they once made and how everyone enjoyed it. There are times to entertain when the we want to do it all, making it a real treat for our guests. But there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Often guests feel flattered by a special request. We are all busy with lives going in all directions. Asking a guest to occasionally bring something special to share can be a compliment.
My husband and I enjoy preparing the complete menu for our friends. Then here are times that I want to enjoy friends, but the "big picture" seems daunting for one reason or another. Those are the times to make a few quick phone calls, and suggest a low-key evening... with a little help.

Do you occasionally ask for a little help from your friends when planning a dinner?

Either way, dinner with friends is still one of my favorite ways to spend an evening.


  1. Having a table surrounded with friends is the best tablescape! If it is one friend or 100 friends I love it. Enjoy my friend! xoxo

  2. you had me at brie....

    I agree, while yes, everyone is busy, I think people can be a little too busy to enjoy life. I like to keep little snackies so if anyone pops by I can offer them a little something along with a chat.

    I don't mind if guests are willing to bring a dessert or appetizer. I think it is a kind gesture. Truth be told, I am not a cook, so I do need help. Usually B is the chef and I am the sous-chef.

  3. I practically never ask guests to bring anything unless it is a holiday occasion or a pot luck. If it is a dinner party, I like to do the entire menu. I DO ask what I can bring, however, if an invite is extended. One thing I do if I go to someone's house is to bring a nice bottle of wine or flowers (already in a container).. xoxo

  4. You must be a very good host! Sounds sooo lovely. I love to cook and my friends should just hang around in the kitchen, drink their wines and give me a hand with little things, such as: "could you pass me the Olive Oil please, bring me the blue plate out of the cupboard overthere please" etc. etc...And they know they make me extremely happy when they bring some pastries or a very good bottle of wine. it.

    Have a nice day Debra!

  5. Should someone ask me if they can bring something, I usually say "a smile". But I do usually say "yes" - it gives them a feeling of participation.

  6. My husband and I prefer to simply host and not get into all the back and forth of what to bring - but there are times when having an impromptu dinner and the guests bringing a dish or something sweet-
    it does add to the joy for all. Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday for guests to contribute side dishes and sweets.
    We also love just getting together for wine and cheese or coffee and sweets. :)

  7. Dinner with friends is my favorite way to spend an evening... and you are so right... when someone offers to bring a dish you should take them up on it. Why not? I'm going to take your advice for our next dinner party!

    Ok, and I must find out about that brie and caramelized onion recipe. That looks delicious.

  8. I'm getting better at asking. The last couple of years, I've learned that my family and friends actually like bringing things. You're right though, sometimes you just want to handle the whole thing as a treat for your guests.

  9. Oh, all the time, I am not shy about that as I grew up in a family of ten. Often I will say, if you want you could bring a desert or a bottle of wine, if it is a large gathering. Everyone brings food and libations for our family get togethers.

  10. I think impromptu dining is a great idea but as you say not always easy to pull off. Tonight I am trying homemade pizza from the article in the NYTimes magazine this past Sunday. I had it once for dinner and it worked very well.


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