One could say I was raised by the anti-Martha Stewart. My mom was not one to host friends for dinner, much less pull anything other than paper plates out in the rare times we did have guests. It’s not that we didn’t have fine china or friends, she just couldn’t be bothered. So, it must have been some twisted karma which thrust itself upon us when I became obsessed with it. While the lack of resources and willingness constrained me at home, my inner Food Network star bloomed when I moved to college. In the past two years, I have read and researched countless tips and tricks on cooking, hosting, and more which I adapted to fit a dorm kitchen.
While studying abroad in Prague this spring, all of my dreams realized themselves in a dinner party a friend and I threw for our suite and a few other friends. Although I am far from an expert, here is how I throw a dinner party in a college dorm.
1—Pick a date and send invites. While this seems obvious, weekends are usually your best bet because who doesn’t want a home cooked meal after a long week and to relax with friends? However, be sure to pick a weekend that does not precede any big exams or papers, so check everyone’s schedule. Also, a weekend dinner party requires weekday shopping, so check your schedule, too. As for invites, peruse the invitations available online—free and cute!
2—Plan your menu. Whether it is following a theme, a holiday, or season, be sure to streamline all dishes to create a cohesive menu. Three courses are usually ideal (appetizer, main dish with sides, and dessert). Guests can bring the appetizers and dessert—this cuts costs and ensures that there is something everyone will like. Consider your guests’ dietary needs (vegetarian, etc.), too.
3—Grocery shopping. Enlist a friend to go with you because groceries are heavy (and kind of boring alone). Make a detailed list with exact amounts of each ingredient necessary and combine ingredients which are in more than one recipe into one item on the list to make it easier. Along with ingredients, shop for any kitchen tools or decorations to add that special touch—many are reusable, as well. Cost per use!
4—Throwing the party. Remember to thoroughly read the recipes and prep anything which allows the day before. Finalize the head count, clean/decorate the dorm, and start cooking! Light a candle, turn on some music, and put out the appetizers as guests arrive. Above all, have fun. This is meant to be a way to de-stress, socialize, and “adult” with your friends, so if your chicken burns, that is okay. Order a pizza and laugh about it. After all, college is about new experiences and learning from your mistakes… and making memories to last a lifetime!
Share any pictures of dinner parties you’ve hosted with us! Post them on Instagram, and don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista.