Blog: Sometimes corners need to be cut

Catherine Sleep | 24 November 2005

Today’s news story about the problems affecting dinner parties got me thinking. Our group of friends has got itself into a bit of a pickle and I can’t think we’re alone. The thing is, we watch cookery programmes, and enjoy access to reasonable food stores, and on the whole quite enjoy cooking and entertaining.

That said, most of us are juggling pretty intense jobs with the delights and demands of young children, not to mention other commitments. As a result, the time is scarce to cook several courses of sublime fare and then serve it on a beautifully laid table (for we seek to emulate Martha Stewart – except not the prison bit, obviously).

Yet we struggle to tone down our expectations of what we should offer guests. Net result? We don’t entertain each other as often as we would like. This is daft, isn’t it? Really we should just bite the bullet and reason: “Okay, I’ve no time to stage a magnificent several-course feast of ingredients sourced at various obscure delicatessens and spend two hours dressing the table. But I HAVE got time to make a pasta sauce and throw together a salad, and maybe I could ask X to bring a pudding….”

Course, it’s always hard to be the first to drop the baton but hey, perhaps I’ll swallow my pride and start opening those tins of beans next time we want friends around.

Dinner party dilemmas


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