to the boards
about entertaining, cooking, etiquette and more.
up, my mom was one of those super-moms who had to make everything from
scratch. I'd go over to my friends' houses and wonder why all their moms
made brownies that tasted exactly the same as each other's, and totally
unlike my mother's. I assumed my immigrant mom must be missing out on
some super special American brownie secret, doing something a little odd
to her own version, which tasted perfectly good, but just, well, different. It took me ages to realize it was because all those other
mom's were using the same Betty Crocker mix, a shortcut that wouldn't
have occurred to my own mom in a million years. From my mom, I learned
to appreciate cooking from real ingredients, and having the patience to
spend time making food -- both valuable lessons, no doubt. But my mom
also bred in me this notion that there was something kind of lame about
taking the easy way out. Feeding loved ones, serving guests -- this was
something that wasn't meant to be undertaken unless you were willing to
put a lot of time and effort into the endeavor. The first party I ever
threw as a semi-grown-up was a sushi party for 30. It was a feast that
people raved over, but truth be told, I spent most of my time slaving
over my maki rolls, fretting silently over whether I had too much of the
raw stuff or not enough, worried that some folks might find the food
offerings too weird.
how to entertain without stressing yourself out
by Yee-Fan Sun |
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Slowly, I've been trying to
teach myself that having friends over doesn't always have to involve so
much pressure. Every detail doesn't have to perfect; menus don't have to
be elaborate; events don't have to be big and fancy to be memorable.
Parties should be as much fun for the host as for the guests. All of
which means that sometimes, easy does the job just fine.
If hosting friends chez vous
tends to throw you into an anxious frenzy, it's time to quell your inner
perfectionist. Check out these seven simple steps towards easier
Easy (to please!) guests are key to keeping you sane when you're playing
host. Too often, we get this crazy idea in our heads that a good party
must be a big party, where we invite everyone with whom we've ever
shared even the briefest of encounters -- we're so afraid that we'll go
to all this effort, just to have no one show up. Since we don't know all
the potential guests well enough to feel secure in the fact that they'll
like of us no matter what, trying to please them becomes a little bit of
a guessing game. Moreover, there's this feeling that our main duty is to
impress. Throwing a party becomes a competitive act where we worry that
every little thing we do -- or don't do -- is being judged.
Yes, there are times when it
makes sense to entertain folks you don't know that well; when you've
moved to a new city, started a new job, or are otherwise looking to
expand your circle, hosting new faces is kind of par for the course. But
even when you're inviting near-strangers over, it just makes sense to
only ask those with whom you share a good vibe. Anyone that makes you so
nervous you can't be yourself around them -- save socializing with them
for other people's parties, times when you're not simultaneously
juggling the responsibility of providing food and drink and merriment
for the rest of the crowd. In short, the first step to easier
entertaining is to quit going the catch-all route, and pare down your
guests lists to folks you genuinely feel comfortable around.
lounge . nourish
host . laze
. home .