Now that it’s February, I’ve been trying to figure out which evening to host my next dinner party. I’ve realized that hosting a dinner a month requires a certain level of constant preparedness. While I can normally throw together a spread of cocktails and appetizers or brunch and mimosas at the drop of a hat, a dinner party is a different level of production. Here are my tips on how to always be party ready.
• Create an inventory of your table linens (a photo of my inventory is below) and tape it to an easy to access spot like the back of a closet door. When it’s time to set the table for a dinner of six, consult the inventory to find out which linens are suitable.
• Buy alcohol in bulk. Take advantage of Bevmo’s ‘5-cent sale’ or Safeway’s ‘take 10 percent off 6 bottles deal’ and buy wine in bulk. My general rule is to have at least two bottles of red, white, and sparkling wine on hand always. Supplement your bar by asking guests to bring wine or spirits to the dinner.
• Make use of your freezer. I never used to freeze things, but over the past few years, I’ve learned how to use my freezer to my advantage. If there is a surplus of anything, from soup to meatballs to pesto to bacon to parmesan cheese to bread, I pop it in the freezer. These basic components can easily inspire a last minute dinner. Thaw the soup and serve with grilled cheese sandwiches. Meatballs make an excellent appetizer to a classic Italian meal. Turn bacon and parmesan into a simple carbonara. And so on and so forth. The key is to be creative with your frozen ingredients.
• Maintain a steady level of cleanliness and organization in the kitchen. This is sort of obvious, but don’t let those dishes pile up or those leftovers rot in the back of the fridge. These are the last things you’ll want to deal with when you’re in the middle of hosting a dinner party.