R.I.P. Dinner Parties

CALL me old fashioned, but I love dinner parties.

Not to the extent of bringing out the fancy china plates and delicate silver cake forks (does anyone even own these things any more?), but there’s something great about bringing your favourite people together for a bottle of wine (or two) and a home-cooked meal.

Recently, I was thinking about throwing a little dinner party. “Why not?” I thought to myself. “It’ll be fun! I’ll make my famous roast chicken.” Then I remembered that many of my friends are vegetarians.


“That’s okay, perhaps I’ll make a homemade pizza.”

Nope, there’s a vegan in the mix… Not to mention the friends who are lactose intolerant. What’s a pizza without cheese?

“Um… well… maybe we’ll have burritos with plenty of veg-friendly fillers.”

Strike 3: A couple of friends are gluten-free and a few more only eat low-carb.

“Tacos?” Nope. “Stew?” Nada. “Salad?” No way!

I scoured the Internet for something that could help, but more and more I realised I’d be cooking several different meals to try to cater for everyone. That’s not even considering whether or not it’ll taste any good.

Now, I’m not saying I blame any of my friends for their dietary requirements – it just makes it really bloody hard to throw a dinner party.

Do you cook several dishes and hope for the best? Or do you quietly ask for people to bring their own food?

I can’t stand the latter. Having a casual BBQ and asking people to provide the snags is one thing, but inviting someone to a dinner party sans dinner feels a little backwards. I was once invited to a friend’s dinner party and his text message ended with: “BYO meat, salad, drinks and nibblies”. I didn’t go on principal and I’m still so scarred I hate asking anything to bring anything when I invite them to my house.

So in the end… I did nothing. I aborted my dinner party plans and had a couple of people over who I knew would appreciate and eat my homemade hamburgers.

It was a fun night, but it made me a little sad. With all our crazy (albeit occasionally reasonable – let’s not start a fight, now) diets and dietary requirements, the only conclusion I can come to is that the traditional dinner party is dead.

No longer can you cater for everyone with one meal, or even two, unless it’s some vegan-paleo-glutenless-lactoseless-carbless-fatless-preservativeless culinary masterpiece.

I just wish I knew where I could get the recipe.

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