I’ve been on this Kosher for Passover Indian food theme, and when you’re going with a theme, there must be a party not far behind. I decided to invite a few close friends to a sit-down dinner party.
My first rule of party planning: Take care of yourself! About 5 hours before the party set an alarm to remind you take a shower, get dressed, put on your makeup, do your hair, and spritz with some perfume. You will NOT remember to do this later! No matter how beautiful your presentation is, nothing says unprepared like sweat pants and smelling like last night’s dinner.
2nd rule of party planning: YOU set the mood. Many people might be adverse to eating dinner on the floor (like I had my guests do), but by the very fact I set an elegant table, made placards, and personalized every detail, my guests not only obliged, they seemed excited to dine sitting on pillows in front of an immaculate setting. (Normally, I would never serve dinner on paper, but being that it is Passover, I could not use my normal table settings.)
I greeted everyone with Appletinis, primarily because that was the kind of hard liquor I could find in the kosher for Passover grocery store. They turned out awesome! Which brings me to my 3rd rule of party planning: Always be the first one to have a cocktail. Think about it, you’ve been laboring all day to make everything look picture perfect… in order to be a good host you need to relax. Also, people will feel more free to partake of the cocktails if they see the host doing the same.
You are not a bartender, and even if you are you do not operate in that capacity as a host or hostess. I divide a dinner party into 5 parts – cocktails, appetizers, entrees, dessert, and coffee. Your guests should have a choice in what they want to consume in ONLY 1 of those categories. For instance, for this party I offered 1 cocktail (keep in mind there was plenty of wine to go around with dinner), soup was the appetizer, the guests had an array of entrees to choose from as I planned it Indian buffet style.
I pre-plated the parve dessert with a slice of flourless chocolate cake, a scoop of rocky-road ice cream, a scoop of strawberry ice cream, and a bit of coconut milk whipped cream. Once of the attendees was allergic to strawberries, but he could eat around that portion of the dessert. Finally, for “coffee” I offered the rest of the vodka and liqueur for shots or “l’chaims”. I know, not coffee, but it worked. 🙂
Finally, my 5th rule and last rule of party planning: a dinner is a dance and must be choreographed. There is a new phenomenon in this country that guests must assist the host in serving, cleaning, what-have-you. I hate this. Part of the pleasure I derive from being a hostess is watching everyone relaxing and enjoying themselves. I plan a dinner party weeks ahead of time so that all the cooking is done, all the food is in place well beforehand. This may even mean that I have to cook and freeze some of the food ahead of time. But it’s all worth it when not only do my guests get to enjoy themselves, but I get to relax too! Think of a wedding: The bride plans for months to make sure that she does not have to lift a finger on the big day. Likewise, when people attend a wedding they don’t expect to clean the dishes afterward.