Last minute dinner party war/horror stories?

I seem to have "surprise" guests rather frequently and am so grateful to this site for giving me ideas so that I can start whipping up dinner in 5 minutes or less. (Yeah, Lazy Mary's Lemon Tart!) Do you have any kitchen triumphs/nightmares when 6 people show up and you have nothing in the fridge? Any tips for hosting impromptu dinners with no screaming and hair-pulling?

  • Posted by: lloreen
  • March 22, 2012


lloreen March 23, 2012
Wow, bouldergalintokyo, you fit 48 people in a Japanese apartment??? I am I impressed. I hope you had a real oven. When I lived in Japan all I had was a rice maker and one burner...funny about the shoes!
BoulderGalinTokyo March 23, 2012
Thank you lloreen. You know those sewing tables for kimono, very long and skinny? We lined them up North to South through the two rooms, and everyone sat on the tatami.
BoulderGalinTokyo March 23, 2012
My third year in Japan, I was giving a 'finishing the class" party for 48 classmates of my husband and their wives. I was concentrating on an American Thanksgiving meal with extra side dishes, plans going great. I figured out seating arrangements in this very small 2 room apartment, plans going great. What I had forgotten was, what do you do with 96 shoes in a land where everyone removes them at the door? PANIC greatly! A neighbor lined three flights of stairs with newspaper and everyone placed their shoes up in perfect pairs. Be flexible.
Sam1148 March 22, 2012
I keep some frozen dim sum on hand. Easy to steam. And whip up a couple of sauces. (make hot mustard with Coleman's English mustard powder and water, and a soy/ginger/garlic sauce and some plum sauce or sweet sour sauce (simple sugar/vinegar/ water/ketchup/ cornstarch slurry to thicken).
A can of shrimp with a rice vinegar or lime dressing on lettuce. No lettuce? Ice water vinegar/ rehydraded wakeme seaweed)
Miso soup Or egg drop soup is easy to whip up. A drained package of tofu cut into 'french fry' cut dusted with cornstarch and fried. (served in a shallow dish with sauce of soy/mirin/sake..and dried bonito flakes and green onion for garnish), or frozen egg rolls for a fried element.

If six people show up unexpectedly they get 'nosh' type food, not full service.
Third F. March 22, 2012
When I was in my early twenties, before I learned to cook, I had invited a couple over for a dinner of an expensive, high end, pre-made lasagna that was placed in the oven in its deep dish aluminum pan. After an eternity in the oven, it was finally ready to come out. As I slid the enormous tray out of the oven, it twisted under its own weight. Half ended up on the floor, half on the open oven door where it began to sizzle and smoke. I picked up the phone, ordered pizza (which took over an hour to be delivered) and ended up offering endless apologies to the couple who were ravenous and jet lagged after a long flight from Europe.
bobbie J. March 22, 2012
I usually have lots of greens on hand, kidney beans, artichokes and olives in the pantry. Or, spinach, walnuts, dried cranberries and blue cheese. All im saying is that an interesting salad can help stretch any meal..
sawman March 22, 2012
Went to a dinner party for 50 people at the home of the Stouffer's family. Caterer never should up. guessed it, we went into the garage freezer and had a Stouffer's feast. At least the bar inventory was there.
Author Comment
We have pizza night at our house often enough that we usually have the fixins at hand. It is actually a fun event when we announce "come out to the kitchen and decorate your pizzas." I roll out 8" dough circles and have all the ingridients out for people to choose and have fun with. guests always share their creations with each other and the last comment of the night we always get is "We need to do this again, seriously, when can we come back."
mensaque March 22, 2012
Touch on green,own me a Coke,hardlikearmour!Take out!...or you could have some pasta put aside for when the "show-upers" decide to show up!
hardlikearmour March 22, 2012
Take out!
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