Man, it’s about time we got out of the house and -nevermind. Let’s invite people over here, instead.
What sort of fabulous dinner party shall we plan?
Have you considered a vegan theme? If you haven’t, I think you’d be pleasantly surprised how many options are out there for meals.
I’ve even found desserts that fit the bill. No joke.
If you or a few friends have already found the healthily tasty world of veganism, this is a great opportunity to enlighten a few other invitees.
Personally, I love how beautifully vegan recipes appear on a plate. I spend all afternoon leafing through my cookbooks, salivating.
Class things up by considering the traditional pasttime of a garden party.
Don’t have a garden or weather warm enough? Dress up the inside with foliage, or party in a greenhouse.
The key to a great setup is an open, casual, pleasant feel. Guests should reminisce about warm, summer evenings beneath hanging lights or lanterns and swaying branches.
Keep dinnerware simple, the table picnic-like, the fare fresh and homegrown. Who wouldn’t want to come?
¡Olé! Let’s taco bout a fiesta!
From tacos to enchiladas to empanadas to horchata to tamales, your guests will love the flavors, colors, and festivity of a Mexican-themed cena.
As you can see, this will be a great opportunity to pull out reds, yellows, greens, and blues. Have a molé or salsa contest, serve margaritas, and play mariachi music.
When things start winding down, challenge your attendees to dance “The Jarabe.” Heck, do “The Macarena.” The winner can take home a sombrero.
You’ll get more than a few laughs if you chalk up a sign like this one, especially if you decide on a taco bar for the food.
Every New Year’s Eve, my family has a tradition of serving various hors d’oeuvres for “dinner” all night.
Why not plan an entire evening of bite-sized fare? I’m sure your guests have a miniature favorite to share.
Serve everyone’s contributions on small platters, accompanied by tiny forks or spoons.
Tiny bites mean fewer calories, right?
Buongiorno! How about an Italian festa?
I could eat pasta all evening, especially in cream sauces like Romana or Alfredo. Pair with a few excellent wines, and no one will want to leave.
The other great Italian food? Bread. Don’t you dare forget the Ciabatta or Focaccia!
Décor may resemble that garden party we talked about earlier; with braided-bottle candles, grapes, il Tricolore, baskets, and (possibly) red-checked tablecloths.
A fun and trendy way to spend the evening is in learning to cook up some elaborate dish together.
Many cooking schools offer catered classes (in your home), you can all go to an outside class together, or look up and figure out a main course the amateur way.
Some fancy dishes for such an occasion include: sushi, lamb sosaties, stuffed lobster tails, chicken curry, and truffles or ice-cream quenelles.
If you haven’t ever hosted a murder mystery, you are guilty of missing a fun time!
These things even come all planned in a box nowadays, or you can spring for a company to run it.
You and your friends are assigned an identity that is part of -you guessed it- a murder mystery. The best part is that everyone dresses up as his or her character; and they are usually from a specific time period and location.
Have you been itching to speak with a Western accent all evening? Go for it, pardner.
Another elegant dinner theme comes to us from the East: an Asian ensemble.
Surrender to the peaceful serenity of orchids, lotus blossoms, bamboo place settings, and simplicity.
Think this may be too difficult to decorate for? Even Michael’s has artificial orchids, vases, and themed paper goods.
Have guests remove their shoes and sit at a low table. Begin with a simple tea; end with custom fortune cookies.
I can almost hear the Chinese violin (Erhu, 胡) and hear the rustling whispers of conversations.
Sorry to wake you from that peaceful meditation, but we’ve got to round up some swell folk for a Roaring Twenties Party!
These events are the bee’s knees. After your man delivers invitations, friend will ankle quickly over to your speakeasy.
Women can don pearls, feathers, long gloves, and fringe flappers. Men will escort them in zoot suits, derbies, and a snappy tie.
Set the mood with red-dimmed lighting over greys, whites, and blacks while bouncing along to some great 20s jazz and blues.
Our final idea is another classic: a wine and cheese-tasting meal.
Two of the greatest pairings in the gourmand world will really up your ratings as best host/hostess this year. You can even ask guests to bring a sample of each, to vary the table a bit.
Play a few casual games, like: name the wine or cheese by taste, vote on the best pair, or answer some basic trivia.
Or, just sit back and enjoy yourselves.
These terrific themes were found at the following sites:
7. The Cookery
11. The Everygirl
12. Savoring Today