Theres much, much more to hosting a dinner party than simply cooking a bunch of food. People need plates to eat off of, cloth to wipe their faces with, and obviously furniture to sit on. Though nothing is as important as the food, it’s the details that really make the party.
People are always going to be grateful and impressed that you fed them, but if you want to give the impression that you are some sort of adult who can give advice on adult things, there are few little extras you can provide to throw a fabulous party:
Put out the good salt and pepper
Iodized salt and pre-ground pepper get the job done, but they’re both a little flat-tasting. Freshly-ground pepper not only has a ton more flavor than the other stuff, but there’s something very satisfying about the feel of of grinding it out yourself. You could get a fancy, wooden pepper grinder, but try to get a better one.
Use real napkins
Paper towels are for pizza-fueled moving parties. Paper napkins are for picnics. Adult dinner parties call for cloth napkins. Your guests may be confused at first…and some are hesitant to get any food all over your nice napkins; you may have to reassure them that it’s fine if they get tomato sauce on the napkin; that’s what they’re for.
Skip this one if you went all out on the meal, but consider at least offer something alcoholic, be it wine, a particularly nice beer, or a simple cocktail. Want to really wow your friends and lovers? Hand them a simple cocktail when they walk in the door, preferably something comprised of either vermouth and soda or your favorite Italian liqueur and soda, garnished with a strip of lemon or orange zest.
Grab some flowers
There’s something slightly intimidating about walking into someone’s home and seeing a vase of fresh flowers. Just don’t overdo it, as you will look like you’re trying too hard. A bouquet or two will do just fine.
Appetizers Sometimes, if they know they are going to be fed later, people hold off eating during the day, and arrive to a dinner party ready to consume. Putting out a little food will keep everyone calm and social while you finish braising the osso bucco. Cheese plates are always a pleaser, but frico is the most addictive one-ingredient app around, and no one is ever mad at homemade onion dip.
Put on some tunes
Awkward silence is awkward, so make a playlist, put on a record, or make Spotify do all the work and create a radio station around a song that really captures the mood you want to create.