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The Prep-Work: Make Your Dinner Party The Best One Yet

Having a dinner party? Worried you’re going to make it all wrong and no-one’s going to want to come back? Relax. A great dinner party is achieved through great planning. Don’t jump to impress with recipes you just started practicing the night before. Take your time, read the tips below and see what ideas strike you as just the kind of fun (or sensible) choices you need.

Prep Tip #1: Don’t put your guests in the hospital

You know what’s not fun? Going to hospital. You might be in danger of doing that to a guest if you don’t find out about their food requirements and/or allergies before you start cooking. A lot of people look for a tactful way to ask for health information. The simple answer is to keep it a private conversation. Phone on the pretext of asking them whether they have any preferences for their meal. Better to be safe than sorry.

I have friends who are lactose intolerant and others who are vegetarians. Keeping their culinary needs in mind helps me create a menu that they can enjoy just as much as anyone else at the party.

Prep Tip #2: Put thought into the drinks you offer

Regardless of what courses you choose, the drink you serve can highlight or ruin a meal. Pairing drinks with food isn’t about being snobby. It’s about the very real effect that a drink has on our taste buds. It flavors the food we serve alongside it. Bitterness in drinks like beer cut through the heaviness of other foods. White wine has a cleansing effect for flavorful food like fish. Red wine doesn’t have much acidity, making it a good choice for fatty chicken and other meats.

Prep Tip #3: Only the best in BBQ

If you’re offering a barbecue, don’t offer just the same old slabs of meat as everyone else. Be more considered in your choices. Too many people ignore the fact they can cook seafood on the grill as well. Sweet corn, salad fixings and kebabs are lighter foods that are also great at contrasting heavier meat.

Prep Tip #4: Hit it at its freshest

If you’re using whole food ingredients, then get them at their absolute best. Most foods are seasonal and getting them in season results in fresher tastes. Most recipes you’ll find need all the flavor fresh ingredients can offer. So use a seasonal calendar to see the ingredients that will blow your guests’ socks off.

Prep Tip #5: Easy desserts

We’re not necessarily talking about desserts that are easy to make (though that’s not always bad). Instead, it can be nice to have a change of scene after dinner. Why not make a dessert that they don’t have to sit at the table to eat? For example, you can click here to see cake pops that can be eaten just about anywhere. Just give them a napkin beforehand.

Prep Tip #6: Add a bit of color to the night

If you want things to be fun, then you want to delight all of their senses. This includes sight. Try to add a bit more color to your dish in the form of garnishes. If you don’t want to experiment with the food too much, look at what drinks you’re serving instead. A super bright cocktail with dessert can be just the right kind of dazzling finish.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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