My Big Fat International Dinner Party

Posted by Jen on June 26, 2009 in Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of... |

Summer seems to bring out the “social” in us all. It’s the backyard barbecues, the pool parties, the tiki torches … it’s the laid back, take it easy reason to have a party season.

So, when we got an invitation recently to get together with a group of other couples for a planned “dinner event” that required participation, we didn’t hesitate to RSVP, “yes!”

sanpunch400500And then, when I posted this picture of the sangria that was served and got a please-pass-the-sangria response … well, I just had to describe the party. Because, if you’re planning a dinner party – or just want to do something different this summer, this is one I highly recommend!

Oh, and I should absolutely state for the record that this was not our idea. It was the brainchild of friends of ours who are GREAT get-together organizers! [If they got the idea from someplace else, I can't find it!]

So, we got an invitation that said,

The CoolPartyPlanners would like to invite you to join us for a dinner party on June 20, 2009. The catch is that YOU have to provide the dinner!

It’s a bit cheeky isn’t it? I love it!

The rules of the dinner are as follows:

  • Each couple/family/team selects a country of their choice and RSVPs to the hosts with this information. This allows the hosts to be sure there are no duplicate countries and to plan out the food agenda for the evening.
  • Each couple/family/team brings an entree, beverage, and appetizer or dessert from the country of their choice.  The serving size here is about 4-6 (depending on the number of couples/families/teams participating). The goal is to sample each dish rather than fill up!
  • The hosts prepare a serving schedule to determine which country is served first. Depending upon the number of couples/families/teams, 30-45 minutes for each country works nicely.
  • At the designated time, couples present their dishes – either in come-and-get-it style or with great aplomb – and the feasting begins.

The schedule might look something like this:

5:00 – Mexico

5:30 – Cuba

6:00 – Germany

6:30 – France

7:00 – Greece


You might also schedule a walk (or at least a push away from the table) break in there somewhere because this will be a lot of food – a lot!

OK … now for a couple of practical live-and-learn things.

  • All of the couples attending this little shindig had kids about the same age. So, kids were welcome to come and play. They ate Mac-n-Cheese and kool-aid! It was great and, for the most part, the grown-ups got to do their own thing. We got a babysitter for BK so that we could stay a bit later in the evening without worrying about her bedtime. But … this could be kid-full or kid-free with equal success.
  • Given that there is a LOT of food and a LOT going on, it might be nice for the hosts NOT to cook! It kind of depends on the hosts, but really, providing the place and the “stuff” that goes with a dinner party is more than enough!
  • This is way fun if folks try new dishes … stuff they’ve never cooked before! Nobody’s going home hungry if something doesn’t work so it’s a really safe time to try that new recipe from the food network! Same goes for eating … if you do this, make yourself a deal to try everything! You might be surprised! [I don't like guacamole - never have. Loved. Loved. Loved the guacamole served!!! Who knew?]
  • If your party goers like adult beverages, make sure to remind them about the need for a DD! There are a lot of yummy adult beverages served around the world … many will show up!

End the evening, outside if possible, just enjoying the company while some brave and crazy souls go back for more food. It happened, I was a witness.

If anyone goes home hungry from this party, well, that’s just user error if you know what I mean!

I'll be hoppin' along now ...

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