Tag Archives: food for a cocktail party

The Art of the Effortless Party

Every once in a while, you meet someone who is truly a hostess with the mostest. For me, Gentle Readers, that person is Rocking Writer, who manages to toss together dinner for any number of people in a snap, have a party in the middle of a downpour, and never ever lets ’em see her sweat. She is the epitome of effortless grace in the kitchen, and The Practical Cook unabashedly studies her methods.

An Effortless Party Table with Flowers

An Effortless Party Table with Flowers

Top 5 Tips for a Practically Effortless Party

1. KISS. We all know this  one, keep it simple stupid. If you want an effortful party, make individual fussy appetizers and everything from scratch. If you want to go for something simpler, keep it simple. Limit the dishes to something salty, something sweet, something hot, something cold. Variety, but not too much of anything is key.

2. Flowers. The little touches matter. Put flowers on the table, instant party!

3. Nice Dishes. What are you saving them for? Now is the time to whip out the good and interesting pieces. Again, if you followed rule #1, clean-up won’t be so bad.

Close-up on the effortless party spread. Guacamole, pastry puffs, hummus, cheese, done.

Close-up on the effortless party spread. Guacamole, pastry puffs, hummus, cheese, done.

4. Buy Some, Make Some. This table proves a rule I’ve learned many times over at my annual Christmas dinner. People like pigs in a blanket. You can slave in a hot kitchen, or you can accept that some party foods are faves for a reason. Buy some dips, make one or two special things, save your energy for pouring drinks.

5. Invite Interesting People. Not food related perhaps, but key. Good conversation overwrites any eyebrows that might be raised about culinary choices. Remember, this is an effortless party you’re throwing, not a sit-down 5-course gourmet dinner party. Sometimes, the effortless party conversation can be about food. The Practical Cook loses no opportunity for field research!

So thank you to Rocking Writer for well, rocking, and for the invite. I am inspired and reminded that food and community are inseparable and important.

Are you an effortless host? Post your comments and tips, I need ’em!

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Tomorrow, a product review: Frozen Polenta with Spinach and Carrots from Trader Joe’s.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, Punt!