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Molly Campbell: The Dinner Party

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I suppose that in Paris, if you are invited to someone’s home for dinner, it is really about the wine. Or maybe in New York City, it is about the sparkling conversation, or maybe the clothes the women are wearing. I guess in most cities, it is not really about the food.

I think this is wrong. I live in Ohio. The heart of the Midwest. Although if you look at a map, Ohio isn’t really in the middle of the west, but I digress. We have dinner parties in Dayton. There are glamorous people hosting them. Not at my house, however. Another digression. What bothers me is the disingenuousness of all this. Because in my opinion, dinner parties should be about the dinner.

Most of these soirees start at around seven. People arrive. The hosts give you a glass of something. There may be some veggies and dip, or a bowl of peanuts. Some hosts even do canapés, but this is rare. So there you are, holding a glass of something, and you have to content yourself with a few nuts and some random conversation, all the while simply dying of starvation.

When, finally, you get to sit down at the table to actually eat food, it is often not enough. I think all people who contemplate having people over for dinner need to be reminded that what the cookbooks say serves six actually serves four. This means that by the time the mashed potatoes get to my end of the table, there is maybe a tablespoon left. And don’t get me started on salad! Good Grief! One of those bags of salad will never satisfy more than two hungry people! Use at least two bags, you foolish churl of a host!

At least in Ohio, when we have cocktail parties, we believe in tons of chips. And all of those little cubes of cheese. These have fortified me through many a long and boring conversation with some stranger about weather patterns, dog grooming techniques, or my least favorite, but it keeps popping up—Rand Paul (I know next to nothing about Rand Paul. I know even less about Ted Cruz, so those cheese cubes are very important).

I would like to start a new truism. A meme. A rule to live by.

Let dinner parties be about the dinner.  Amen.

Molly Campbell (for e-book)

Molly Campbell is the author of Keep the Ends Loose. Visit her website.

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On June 15, 2015
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One Response to Molly Campbell: The Dinner Party

  1. Consuelo Baehr says:

    If you come to my house for dinner, there are no canapés, or nuts, or nibbles. We are there to eat and not fool around.
    We sit down to eat within ten minus of arrival. There is enough for seconds. It wasn’t always so. As a young wife, I went along with the endless nibbling and drinking and having everyone drunk and stuffed by the time dinner was served. Now, I know better. When people arrive, I say. There is no pre-dinner food. We are going to eat right away. Everyone sits down happily.

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