Dinner party

This comes out of the string about dinner party etiquette. We live in a turn of the century neighborhood. Our neighbors are diverse and adventurous when it comes to cooking. Our homes are all historically significant and we love to share that also. We would like to start a rotating monthly dinner party. We've looked at some ideas online. Has anyone done this? Any suggestions? We DO NOT want a pot luck but a dinner party. We have surveyed some prospects who all agree that they would like to adventure in to this.

  • Posted by: MMH
  • October 14, 2017


Windischgirl October 17, 2017
Back in the 70’s, my parents had a Gourmet Club with 3 other couples. They would pick a theme, usually based on a country or culture. Once a month, one couple would host and they would be responsible for the main dish. Someone would bring an appetizer, another a side, and the final couple brought dessert. The music or decor might reflect the theme as well.
Often ideas came from Gourmet magazine, but I also recall trips to the library to pick up themed cookbooks. Part of the evening's conversation was choosing the next theme and host.
I was a teenager at the time and would help my mother—this is really how I learned to cook with confidence.
I know you said you didn't want a potluck, but I think this worked so well because it was so structured. I have been to potlucks where nothing went together, or there were three takes on the same dish, and...ugh, so I understand the reluctance.
MMH October 17, 2017
You've got my vibe. That's a great suggestion & I love your story.
MMH October 16, 2017
Thank you all so much. This really helps. We definitely don't want anything like a pot luck or a progressive dinner but more what you have described.
SKK October 14, 2017
Been part of a dinner club for many years now. What has worked for us:
Hosts put out menu
Guests MUST RSVP several days before the dinner party so host knows how many to plan on
Hosts have the right to ask for people to bring anything other than the entree if they choose to. Such as wine, appetizers, sides or desserts. If guests do not respond to the request, the host graciously picks up the slack.
In my experience, guests always respond and bring what is asked for that supports the entree.
Please post photos - this is lovely.

BerryBaby October 14, 2017
We use to have progressive dinner parties. Start at one house for hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. Next house would have the salad, the following would have the main course, and the last house would have dessert and coffee. I guess it would depend on how many neighbors are involved. It obviously works best with a smaller group. They were very fun and we rotated every month so everybody would share equally throughout the year with responsibility.
stefanie October 14, 2017
Yes, my neighbors in Philadelphia do this. We're mostly academics, art gallerists, and working professionals who also live on a historically significant street. Once a month, someone will host on the first Monday. Sometimes it's just a wine & cheese and small bites kind of thing, other times it's a dinner. We used to get the word out via postcard with date & time and location (and that's still how we let new neighbors know), but we also have an email thread to get a head count. Sometimes almost everyone shows up, and sometimes, it's a smaller group. Some people are definitely better cooks than others, but we mainly hold dinners to catch up with each other, so it's never been a problem. It sounds like you're against potluck - we don't do potluck but if someone says they want to bring over wine or a dessert, we don't say no!
MMH October 16, 2017
Thanks. This is exactly what I had in mind. As I said, our neighborhood is historically significant like yours. Home owners of Varying ages. The demographic is mostly doctors, lawyers and academics. One question - do you get a head count or announce the menu?
stefanie October 16, 2017
We don't announce the menu (because we all kind of know each other and know dietary restrictions), but we do get a head count via email chain beforehand so that the host knows how many people to expect.
lloreen October 14, 2017
I haven't done this but it sounds like a lot of fun and I would love to! If I were you, I'd set up some kind of up-front subscription for a set number of parties, collect a reasonable fee from each family, and appoint a treasurer. The treasurer could distribute funds to the host to cover at least part of the cost of beverages and food. The only problem I see with this dinner club would be feelings of grievance over "unfairness" if some hosts threw a magnificent feast with fine wine and others served a simple meal or even canceled their party while attending those of others. (Even adults can devolve to toddlers over fairness in my experience!). If all the parties had the same budget, more or less, no one would feel they were being taken advantage of by their neighbors. Good luck and report back! I want to move to your neighborhood.
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