Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Try an 80s theme for your next dinner party idea?

The 1980s was a period of renewed optimism and economic liberalization. A new middle class emerged – “the yuppie”

Wikipedia says: “College graduates in their late 20s, early 30s were entering the workplace in prestigious office professions, holding more purchasing power with which they purchased trendy, luxurious goods. The decade witnessed a religious revival and the rise of conservatism, which began with a backlash against disco music late in 1979.

The eighties are also well known (and often ridiculed) for the popular culture of the time such as the over-the-top fashion, big hair styles and the commercialization of music and film.”

What was “hot” in the eighties? These will give you inspiration for the way you could dress, your hair and the music you play..

- shoulder pads
- both men and women began to wear loose shirts (tucked in) and tight close fitting pants. They also wore loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts or sweaters with the sleeves scrunched up to the elbows
- Big rand names included Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein
- Big, messy hairstyles were popular - similar to those worn by women in the 1940s or the mullet or jerry curl
- Bright and colorful make-up or the five o’clock shadow for men who wore t-shirts with the “Armani” style jacket over the top
- The film Flashdance or TV shows like Dallas, Dynasty and Miami Vice
- Ray ban sunglasses
- Pastel colors dominated clothes and acid-washed jeans
- Cyndi Lauper, Madonna (Material Girl), Michael Jackson (Thriller) and the moon walk in the U.S.
- or New Wave and Synthpop like Duran Duran, New Order, Tears for Fears, Bananarama, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, etc
- don’t forget Heavy Metal like Van halen, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, etc
- House music or hip hop and rap
- Music chart toppers included Pat Benetar, Billy Idol, Guns ‘n’ Roses, New Kids On The Block, Robert Palmer, The Police, Lionel Ritchie, Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, John Farnam, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, Queen, U2, Prince – you get the drift?

What can you cook?

People became more health conscious in the 1980s. Pasta, which is low in fat and a good source of carbohydrates, really took off. The focus was on cooking with speed – with the introduction of the microwave meals could be cooked in minutes. Although people enjoyed delicate cuisines, hamburgers really took off as did fast food restaurants like Taco Bell and McDonals became popular

You could cook a blackened Cajun meal.. also quiche, steaks, chicken, burgers.. As guests arrive you could serve the a “hedgehog” made from an orange cut in half with cheese and pineapple cubes on cocktail sticks stuck in it – or even serve this at dessert time. Rice cakes and wine coolers were popular. You can be creative..

It is just a fun unusual experience to try for a dinner party idea.

And don;'t forget your hoop earrings:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, November 26, 2007

On vacation

I've been on a week's vacation - I managed to host two dinner parties up the Coast where we have a house.

I'll be brining you more dinner party ideas soon - the next will be a dinner from the 80s.

Stay tuned.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dinner party ideas - there are so many!

I was thinking last night about when I might run out of fresh dinner party ideas and then it dawned on me...

The answer is never - people have never run out of a story line for a book or for a film nor do they run out of tunes for a brand new song. And yet, you'd think that every script or melody had already been used.

Ideas can be infinite and I hope you get some new dinner party ideas from my blog.

I intend to keep adding ideas for themes and tips and stories so I hope you keep coming back here! And if you have a great idea, please share it.

To check ideas so far, simply look at the right hand column titled "category". You will see a range of dinner party ideas in the form of themes.

And to remember new ideas yourselves, my advice is write them down..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dinner party idea - present food from one country

A simple dinner party idea of course is to focus on food from a particular country.

If you pick a country, then you can prepare an appetizer, a main and a dessert that you would find at that destination.

For instance, if you picked an Italian theme, then you may have a small dish of pasta as an appetizer, a Veal Scallopini dish for main and then Tiramisu for dessert.

(For a traditional Italian meal, check the Italian dinner party article I have posted under the "themes" category.

Other countries that prove to be popular dinner party themes include foods from:

. China
. Mexico
. Thailand
. Vietnam
. France
. Lebanon
. India

You could pick any country really. In fact, if you look under the "recipes" category, you will have access to an amazing website I found with over 3,000 recipes from around the world.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you may like to check out this coffee hamper - coffee is one thing we are all united on don't you think?

The Hostess with the Mostess

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dinner party idea from Roy Andrews..

Thank you Roy Andrews for this dinner party idea.

Roy says:

"I have had a cooking class with participation, everyone brings a bottle of wine, we have instruction from a good cook and share an amazing meal. It is nice to have guests participate with the meal."

It is great to share our ideas.. keep those ideas coming.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, check out this cook book:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dinner party idea - inviting lots of people?

Well, you don't need to have the dinner party at home!

There are so many smallish restaurants and cafes that will open their doors to you if you need to organize a dinner for 20, 30 or 40 people.

When I say open their doors, many cafes in my area are only open during he day leaving restaurants to cater to the evening crowds. So, many of these fab little venues are closed even on a Friday or Saturday night.

I have seen a number of signs recently stating that the cafe or restaurant is available for hire - that is, that the owner will allow you to book out the entire space for a set fee - dinner included.

This is a win win situation for both you and the venue - you are bringing them trade on a night when they are either closed or quiet. They are providing a space for you (preferrably a visually attractive space) where you can leaving the preparation, the cooking and the cleaning to them! Perfect.

The cost for the restaurant hire is negotiable - depedning on the meal you would like served.

These sort of nights are particularly great for a special event like a major birthday celebration or to celebrate a special anniversary. "Special" here is the operative word because you can make this sort of night really memorable and add any extra touches you'd like. These can include additions to table settings - like candles or deceorations.. much as tables are differently decorated at wedding receptions, etc.

A lovely touch is to leave some dispoable cameras on each table so guests can capture their experiences of the night. You will be amazed at the results when you get them printed. Check out these inexpensive disposable cameras:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dinner party idea - for scuba divers!

Only if you're a scuba diver will this dinner party idea appeal..

Enjoy the silence together underwater..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dinner party idea - base your dinner around a theme

Today's dinner party idea is to host a themed dinner.

If you've been to this blog before in the search for dinner party ideas, you'll see a number of themes that you can choose from or you can create your own.

If you think about it, it's not the regular dinner parties that are memorable, it's the dinner parties that were slightly different in some way.

The thing is that it's not that hard to create a theme - it can be very simple.. but simple things can often make a huge impression.

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you may like to take a look at this wildly delicious party tray:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dinner party idea - a buffet maybe?

For your next dinner party idea why not consider a buffet?

A buffet simply means a meal serving system where your guests serve themselves and it is popular when you are expecting large numbers of guests for dinner.

You can pre-prepare the food and heat it prior to the meal if you don't want to be cooking a number of dishes at once.

Whilst you often see buffets in a restaurant, I haven't been to many dinner parties where a buffet is served - so it's a little out of the ordinary.

This suggestion is always great for a food theme from a particular country. In fact, I was born in Egypt and when my family comes together this is the only way we eat - with a number of dishes placed in the middle of the table and we take what we want.

So, if you have an Indian theme, Chinese, Italian or any dinner where you could allow guests to try portions of several meals, try this idea..

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you might want to set yourself up with some elegant yet inexpenive serving platters like this one:

The Hostess with the Mostess

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Throw the best Italian dinner party ever!

As Featured On Ezine Articles

You walk into an Italian Restaurant - the whole experience is just wonderful - the smells, the atmosphere and hopefully when your order is delivered - the food. The background noise is all a part of the experience - it's often at a higher frequency than most restaurants but it's all part of the fun.

Why not take this same experience back to your own home and create a more intimate and less busy Italian dinner party? A dinner where people can enjoy a more leisurely dining experience within the comfort of your own home. A night where you can share your favorite Italian recipes with people who are important to you - or maybe even try out some new recipes?

Italian food never seems to lose its popularity. There's often a feeling of comfort and contentment attached to Italian food and the flavors are simply sensational. So, just how do you host a great Italian dinner party then?

1. Planning - In your planning, consider who you will invite and check the foods that they don't like or can't tolerate and set the date and time well in advance.

2. Invitations - Will you just invite your friends by sending them an email or can you do something a bit more creative with your invitation? You could attach a note to something very Italian. I saw a suggestion of sending the invitation attached to a small packet of biscotti or you could incorporate the colors of the Italian flag as the background (three vertical columns - green on the left, white in the middle and red on the left) on your invite.

3. Atmosphere - Do you want red and white checkered table cloths with chianti bottles as candle holders with wax dripping down the sides - just to give it that really authentic look? Or a plain white, red or green table cloth?

Try to get hold of some background Italian music like some opera for example. Some of Italy's best singers generally have included Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Mina and Claudio Villa.

4. Food - since Italians are renowned for taking great pleasure in their food, wine and the company of their friends dinners can often go on for hours. Italians see meals as a time to spend with family and friends instead of to gain immediate sustenance.

The number of courses served can range from three to six courses (called portate) or sometimes more courses!

You'll no doubt have some lovely smells permeating into the house before your guests arrive - you could also slowly bake some garlic bread in the oven so the smell is wafting through the house as your guests arrive. This will really let your guests know they've come to the right place!

You could start with antipasto which literally means "before the meal". This is also the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal.

Rather than hors devours offered on trays that guests enjoy before they are seated at the dinner table, antipasto is served at the table and signifies the beginning of your Italian meal together. An antipasto plate is usually placed at the center of the table. The antipasto dish doesn't even getting numbered as one of the courses.. it's just a given.

Diners are given small plates on which to place their choices. Traditional choices can include cured meats (prosciuito, mortadella, smoked ham and salami), marinated vegetables, olives, peperoni (marinated small peppers - not the meat called peperoni) along with an assortment of cheeses (like provolone, bocconicini and mozzarella).

The first course primo piatto (also referred to as simply primo) or minestra may consist of soup (minestroni perhaps?), pasta, gnocci, risotto or polenta - this should only be a small portion like a cup or so. This is a dish rich in carbohydrates.

The second or main course is called secondo piatto or piatto di mezzo which usually consists or fish or meat. Traditionally veal, pork and chicken are the most commonly used meat, at least in the North. The side dish is called contorno and may consist of a salad or cooked vegetables. A traditional menu features salad along with the main course.

The first dessert which consists of cheese and fruit is called Formaggio and frutta - the cheese and fruit is usually served together.

Then it's onto Dolce - dessert such as cakes or cookies.

You should also serve coffee/espresso known as Caffè.

Finally, Digestivo or "digestives" which are liquors/liqueurs like grappa, amaro or limoncello - sometimes referred to as "coffee killer" or ammazzacaffe.

All these dishes sound great and I imagine when people see the number of courses it may seem a bit daunting but you only need serve as many courses as you choose. I have discovered a great website hosting 3000 free recipes from around the world. Under Italian, I noticed they offered 217 recipes so I'm sure you can find all you need there.

Just check our recipes in the "categories"section of my blog for the link.

And check out this lovely Tuscan Gourmet Hamper - you could do something special and present a hamper to each couple or if you're invited to a dinner party, surprise your hosts and give them this wonderful gift. Rather than just a bottle of wine, this will really impress people:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dinner party idea – capture the moment

This dinner party idea is about capturing some memories from the night.

The next time you host a dinner party that you’ve put thought and planning into, buy some disposable cameras so you and your guests can capture the moment.

Place a few cameras around the table or at each place setting and encourage people to take photos throughout the night. Or, you could hand the camera to your guests with their welcoming drink.

You’ll be amazed at the results. Once developed, send a print or two to your guests as a memory of the night.

If you don’t like the disposable camera idea, take some photos yourself and send a few of the best shots by email to your guests – a great oppoprtunity to also thank them for coming along.

Here are some inexpensive cameras available care of

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

The Hostess with the Mostess.