Please Come for Dinner.


I’m a big homebody, but I like to be with friends. Hence: I like to entertain. I’m very happy when I have a house full of friends in groups big or small, hopefully eating and drinking and staying a little too late.

Matt and I have a couple of parties every year, which we’ve been doing since we got married. Sometimes its parents with kids and there’s lots of running around, sometimes it’s a grown-up, dress-up, candles-lit cocktail party. What we haven’t done as much in the past few years is smaller gatherings–small enough to fit around one table. Those quieter evenings can sometimes be even more memorable, and I miss them.

For my birthday, Matt gave me a combination cookbook/journal/photo album that’s meant to save memories of these smaller dinners. I love it so much that it might inspire me to get back on the horse. (For local readers: he got it at Clementine, which is the store that I would open if I had perfect taste and the courage and wherewithal to open a store. And it was made by Rag & Bone Bindery.)

I grew up not going out to dinner for a birthday or a celebration, but having special dinners at home. In the dining room — fancy! So to me, there’s nothing more sparkly than planning a special meal and setting a lovely table. I don’t think I’m a great or particularly ambitious cook, but I do love cooking for friends or for parties or for holidays.

This book twists around the cookbook idea to focus on the things that are most important to me: as much the event as the food. There’s space to remember who came over, when, what you ate and drank, and photos of the event. Recipes can be saved here, obviously, but I have a feeling I’ll keep menus more than individual recipes. I might also remind myself of things like this: “Do not organize a dinner for 12 when everything you serve is going to have to be done in the last five minutes.” (Actual tip based on dinner to celebrate Blair and John’s wedding.)

This summer is flying by, and I can barely organize dinner for three Jennings, let alone guests. But I am excited to try to find some time and get to work filling up my new book.

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