Dinner Party Angst

I really love the blog A Cup of Jo, but I don’t visit it particularly often. Every few months I remember that it exists, get very excited, and spend a while perusing it.

It has something for everyone, from food to love to travel to what parenting is like in other countries (that series fascinates me).

Anyway, today I’m in the midst of one of my delightful Jo-binges, and I got very excited about this article about easy dinner parties. I immediately emailed it to Sam — the poor man gets a lot of blog-link-emails from me.

Over the years I’ve collected a lot of links about how to throw an easy, carefree dinner party, but somehow we haven’t actually managed to host one yet. (We have hosted open-house style parties, but somehow a dinner party seems so much more elegant, intimate, sophisticated, etc.)

We talk a lot about logistics — how many to invite, which of our friends would get along best, when to have it, what to make, what to ask people to bring, whether we have enough seating — but ultimately, it doesn’t happen. Death by overthinking it!

I think my favorite piece of advice in this particular post is to text people two days before, so it’s just like — whoever can make it, great! Sometimes the best things in life just materialize.

No to veer morbid again, but I also loved the post about what love means, by that writer who recently died, who wrote the Modern Love piece about finding her husband a new wife.

I recommend you click the link and read the whole thing (and then maybe click the link there to read the WHOLE thing), but here’s one bit I liked that’s relevant to this train of thought:

LOVE – If you really love someone, you want to know what they ate for lunch or dinner without you. Hi, sweetie, how was your day, what did you have for lunch?

I think Sam sometimes thinks I’m crazy because I’m always asking him what he ate for lunch, and he mostly eats sort of recycled commissary food at his job, so it’s usually something like, “really bad meatloaf,” or “really disappointing tacos.”

But I’m not crazy — it’s love!

At my job, when we don’t order out or bring our own lunches, we buy soup from our commissary and joke that it’s “government soup.” This is the first job for a while where we somewhat frequently bring our own lunches, and there’s something kind of fun and childhood-ish (maybe the right word is nostalgic?) about packing a lunch in the morning.

My lunch-packing secret — much like an easy dinner party! — is that I usually haven’t cooked it myself. Earlier this week I brought soup that my mom made (thanks, Mom!) and today I brought spinach pesto pasta salad and poached salmon from the Gelson’s deli counter. (Life hack — I bought it for dinner, and the rest is lunch today… I mean, that’s not really a life hack, it’s leftovers. Carry on.)

It’s funny, on one hand I’ve talked about how sophisticated and adult I would feel throwing dinner parties, but then I said how fun it is to capture that childhood spark of bringing lunch… maybe that’s why the easy dinner party on A Cup of Jo was such a hit with pre-made lasagna and ice cream bars… that totally makes me think of childhood faves. Maybe we can have it all!

In theory, I would like to be the kind of person who cooks a lot and also has dinner parties, but… baby steps. One easy, low-stress, semi-homemade dinner party seems like a good place to start. Practice makes perfect. Rome wasn’t dinner-partied in a day!

[Photo above not exactly from a dinner party, but it was taken at dinner one night at Golden Road.]

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