Tips for throwing a large dinner party—even if you don't have enough cutlery, linens, or table space.
I am the kind of person who bumps into you in the street and insists that you to join us for dinner. I have a habit of planning a supper party for four, then six, and then—by the logic that to cook for six or to cook for eight makes no great difference, and that wouldn’t it be nice to catch up with James and Mary, too—somehow end up cooking for twelve or fourteen.
We serve dinner in our kitchen. And it is not a big kitchen. I long ago made peace with things not being perfect. Or at least not perfect in any conventional sense of the word. If we are more than eight, our cutlery is mismatched—not because bohemian shabby chic is my thing (though it has its own higgledy-piggledy charm to it), but because that is the way it has to be if we are to eat with cutlery at all.
Once you accept that entertaining on a grand scale more often than not means rules will be broken and corners cut, somehow it all becomes rather more fun. After all, it is neither the quality of the food nor the elegance of the crockery that makes a table feel welcoming or a meal shared together the stuff of lasting memories.
How big was the largest crowd you've ever hosted? And how did you survive? Tell us in the comments!
Third, fourth, and fifth pictures by James Ransom and Mark Weinberg; all others by Skye McAlpine