Modern Girl’s Guide To Life: Hosting a Dinner Party

Catch up: Chapter 1.

The Modern Girl's Guide to Life
The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life by Jane Buckingham

I’m still struggling with the idea that this book is only for women. How frustrating to me that a woman will be “throwing together a dinner party” and her husband/boyfriend/significant other is just lounging on the couch! I would definitely try to split the set-up/prep. Throwing a dinner party takes a lot of effort! Who to invite, what to serve that will please everyone, what atmosphere you want to set, how much alcohol to serve…it adds up. The author simplified some meal plans and last minute tricks to make sure that everything goes smoothly. None of your guests will realize anything is amiss.

Chapter 2: Dinner Par-tay!

There are a few things to keep on hand in case of a last minute guest(s) to show that you are a good hostess/ can feed them.

  1. Carr’s Table Water Crackers
  2. Tapendade or marinated artichokes
  3. Garlic-, Brie-, or jalapeño-stuffed olives
  4. Nuts
  5. Bread sticks
  6. Walkers Shortbread cookies
  7. Box of chocolates
  8. Bread/muffin mix
  9. Bottle of champagne
  10. French onion soup mix

If you actually plan a dinner party, there are various menu’s the author suggests for the size of the party. If there are more than eight people, it’s better to have small plates of food to grab, but for a more intimate group of 6 or less, you can prep a meal for everyone. The author included a lot of recipes that would be crowd pleasers for all guests, but obviously I gravitated toward the vegetarian options, like Asparagus Mushroom Tarts, Black Bean Hummus, Garlic Bread, Herb-Roasted Potatoes, Broccoli with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese, plus all the desserts that were suggested! I’m sure you can find these recipes online in some variation if any sound appealing.

Next, the author went over how to stock a bar, specifically how getting premium vodka would be more impressive (and decrease chance of a hangover), how pricier gin would also be worth it, plus having rum, tequila, and whiskey on hand. In addition, having beers, wine, champagne, amaretto or Irish cream, and mixers like club soda, ginger ale with your bar cart will go a long way.


The other part of the dinner party is presentation. Having a runner for the table is more informal than a crisp white tablecloth. Using candy, shells, or fruit as centerpieces is just as nice (and low to the table) as flowers. Lowering the lighting will make everyone look great, and rearranging furniture will help maximize space and create a flow in the space. And sending formal invitations by mail almost guarantees that guests will show.

Why anyone puts this much stress on themselves, we’ll never know. Throwing a dinner party is about more than just the food! Who knew! Though, I do find myself wanting to host a get-together. I feel like certain aspects of this chapter could have been updated. For instance, I think the response rate for a Facebook invitation to dinner or a personal email is just as effective as a formal invitation. Plus, what occasion does a person in their mid-20’s have to throw such an extravagant, formal dinner party?? I like to pick what works for me out of these types of books because I feel like I’ll get more out of it each time I read.


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