Sunday, December 7, 2014

Seasonal Party Advice

Los Angeles magazine has seen fit this month to instruct we the peons in Proper Partying and, thoughtfully, they've included advice on what type of party to give, whether to have caterers, bartenders, DJs and hired dancers, more of which later.

Some of their advice rather startled me -- put the shyest person at the head of the table.  "How cruel" was my first thought, but Los Angeles assures me that anthropological studies have shown that if the shyest person at the table is put at the head of it, they will feel an obligation to entertain and that most will.  This is all well and good but I don't know any shy people.

Put your single friends side by side at the table -- they'll feel a sense of comradeship rather than the challenge of staring (warily one assumes) directly across the table. 

Very well, everyone is seated and staring expectantly at the kitchen.  A caterer advises the host to stick to the Rule of Five -- a salad, a protein, two vegetables, one starch and one "real" vegetable and dessert.  For added conviviality I add a cheese course before the dessert and for lingering at the table after the meal, I put out nuts that have to be shelled  by the guests.  Having to work for your nut gives drinkers a sense of actually doing something.  That's a good feeling when you've also had a different wine (and plenty of it!) with every course.

Knotty questions untangled - how do you start a conversation with a stranger?  Say, "Hello" and listen.  Or open a conversation by smiling confidently and with interest ask, "What's the best thing that happened to you today?"

I wouldn't run out and replace all of my stemmed wine glasses for stemless (because I've already done it) but in larger groups, a stemmed glass is just an accident waiting to happen. 

There is much, much more and we'll be touching on it in the not-so-distant future -- Christmas IS just around the corner...

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