Cookouts/Dinner Parties/Entertaining

TastyReuben

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NOTE: I did find a topic about this already, but it's nearly two years old, and I have a slightly different angle, so I'm making a new one.

Cookouts, barbecue get-togethers, and by extension, dinner parties...what're your thoughts?

Obviously, I'm talking pre-pandemic, but do you like going? Do you like hosting? Do you like doing the whole meal, do you prefer potluck, or do you dislike them?

I don't like going or hosting, mainly because I don't like cooking for others, and I don't like in-person socializing.

Also, if I were to do a whole meal for, say, 10 people, I have a terrible time scaling up. I can figure out how much to cook for about four people, tops, and from there, I end up way overestimating and making too much food.

What got me thinking about this, though, was a conversation I had with a niece recently. Some backstory:

My family, we never had cookouts or dinner parties. No kind of entertaining like that. That was for "fancy" folks.

For whatever reason, though, all of my siblings except for one (and there are six of us counting me) grew into adulthood and have embraced the family party thing to varying degrees.

I used to do a summer cookout, my sister likes to host Thanksgiving, two brothers liked to have parties for their kids' birthdays/graduations, and my oldest brother always did Memorial Day and Labor Day cookouts.

Back to my niece: I have niblings that range in age from their teens (two of my brothers started second families with much younger second wives) all the way into their 40's. The older ones all have kids if their own, some in their teens no less.

Talking to my niece, one of the older ones with kids, she made the comment, regarding the pandemic, that it was a shame no one could get together any more, because she missed coming to all the family cookouts.

I thought for a second, and then I said, "You know, we're all in our 50's and 60's...maybe when all this crap is over, we can pass the baton to the next generation." - meaning her and her cousins.

She immediately laughed and said, "Well, I'm not doing anything like that - the whole point in going to those things is to get a lot of free food without doing any of the cooking!"

I have to admit, that cheesed me off a little bit!

Anyway, to answer my own question, I don't really care to entertain. Way too stressful, nor do I really like going to big parties like that. I prefer to keep it to much smaller groups, just one other couple. Anything larger, I'd rather go to a restaurant.

What do you all think?
 

rascal

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I like to have friends over, 2 to 6 people, we eat over 2 hrs? Then we normally play euchre, the banter often leaves our ribs hurting. I stump the food bill, because I can and want to. Denise one of my wife's besties says she can't cook good enough for me. So we don't get asked. Same with another couple, Cheryl says the same. Doesn't bother me, I love a good night. And I'm at home so no drink restrictions. Btw I usually serve 3 to 4 courses. I'm very social too, without being annoying.

Russ
 

Backbay

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I enjoy having others over for dinner as long as I have time to prep. For me, preparing a good meal for family and friends is a sign of caring /love. I am just lucky I like to cook.

When we were in our 30s we would have a huge holiday party for our friends. Usually about 30 people. I would make a 15 pound standing rib roast, slice it it thin for sandwiches, couple pans of cheesy potatoes, lots of booze, others would bring apps and desserts and it was PARTY ON!! It was all in our condo, we definitely weren't all sitting at a table-overflow on the patio (yes in the Ohio winter) cigar smoking by men and ladies, just a great time. Would invite the condo neighbors so no noise complaints.

These days it's more like 6-8 people when we entertain and we can all sit at the table 😎 I know my family/friends favorites and it's brings me great happiness to be able to cook for them. I also like we can be dressy or casual based on how we feel. Last winter during a bitter cold snap, we had "hoodie" night - come in your hoodies, jeans and be comfortable.

Yes, I like to entertain and host others.
 

rascal

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I enjoy having others over for dinner as long as I have time to prep. For me, preparing a good meal for family and friends is a sign of caring /love. I am just lucky I like to cook.

When we were in our 30s we would have a huge holiday party for our friends. Usually about 30 people. I would make a 15 pound standing rib roast, slice it it thin for sandwiches, couple pans of cheesy potatoes, lots of booze, others would bring apps and desserts and it was PARTY ON!! It was all in our condo, we definitely weren't all sitting at a table-overflow on the patio (yes in the Ohio winter) cigar smoking by men and ladies, just a great time. Would invite the condo neighbors so no noise complaints.

These days it's more like 6-8 people when we entertain and we can all sit at the table 😎 I know my family/friends favorites and it's brings me great happiness to be able to cook for them. I also like we can be dressy or casual based on how we feel. Last winter during a bitter cold snap, we had "hoodie" night - come in your hoodies, jeans and be comfortable.

Yes, I like to entertain and host others.
You're my kind of person. :)

Russ
 

Burt Blank

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The two ingredients of a Balkans dinner party. This is with the family clan in Krusevac Serbia the head of the clan is my Mil
Majka Vuk (mother wolf ) so when she returns home from Croatia its an all day party. Every family bring something and like orthodox christmas food and drink is served from 10.00 to 22.00 hrs.There is no formality apart for a gun check, people arrive eat drink if the table is full they wait. 50/60 people arrived that day. It was a belter
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bergerechair019.jpg


bergerechair074.jpg
 

HairyHeaven

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I love it. Every year I do an Easter-Fest (usually the weekend after) & Christmas in July, and will generally do something around September. Last year it was a tapas-inspired event. Generally it's about 14 people at these.
I've also hosted bigger events for special occasions - there were 30 for my parents anniversary a few years ago
I tend to do a bunch of canapes, big roasts & sides (or salads in summer) & cake-type desserts.
I also really love having formal dinner parties for 6. I'll do a 3-course meal individually plated including a fancy dessert.
For me any of these are a real event. I'll take a week to prepare (including cleaning the house properly 😁) & take the Friday off work. I usually have them on a Saturday afternoon - people arrive around 2pm, we eat for several hours, and there's a lot of good wine consumed.
I love to cook for friends & family and because I live alone I really cherish being able to do this.
Mind you I also really love going to someone else's when they've done all the work.
I've got 8 (maybe 10) coming for Xmas in July this weekend - I'll let you know how it goes
 

Morning Glory

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My family, we never had cookouts or dinner parties. No kind of entertaining like that. That was for "fancy" folks.

My folk were the same. Not one single occasion when I was a kid when anyone came over to eat. It simply didn't happen in working class households in the 50's as far as I was aware. At least, that was my experience. Maybe it was different in other parts of the UK. I'm talking about the South - a council estate on the outskirts of Portsmouth. We never went to restaurants or cafés either.

I can just about cope with 2 dinner guests but I still don't really enjoy it. The exception is if I cook literally everything in advance. Then I know it has worked and will taste good and all I need to do is re-heat. Curry is perfect for this as it gets better when kept and re-heated.
 

TastyReuben

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My folk were the same. Not one single occasion when I was a kid when anyone came over to eat. It simply didn't happen in working class households in the 50's as far as I was aware. At least, that was my experience. Maybe it was different in other parts of the UK. I'm talking about the South - a council estate on the outskirts of Portsmouth. We never went to restaurants or cafés either.

I can just about cope with 2 dinner guests but I still don't really enjoy it. The exception is if I cook literally everything in advance. Then I know it has worked and will taste good and all I need to do is re-heat. Curry is perfect for this as it gets better when kept and re-heated.
Reading that was like talking to myself! :)
 

caseydog

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I used to host a party every year on the nearest Saturday to my birthday. I called it "Meatfest." I fired up all my grills and smokers, which I had plenty of at the time, and spent the day cooking. Then, we spent the evening eating and drinking -- generally ending at about 2AM.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 3.26.58 PM.jpg


Sorry about the poor quality of the image -- It was a long time ago, and I couldn't find the font I used.

cD
 

caseydog

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Anyway, to answer my own question, I don't really care to entertain. Way too stressful, nor do I really like going to big parties like that. I prefer to keep it to much smaller groups, just one other couple. Anything larger, I'd rather go to a restaurant.

What do you all think?

Another area where you and I are different. I love cooking for a large, very informal gathering. Back in the day, one of my neighbors, who now lives in Arizona, but we are still friends, had restaurant experience, and he helped me prep and cook all that food. We drank beer the whole time -- made the food better!

CD
 

TastyReuben

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Another area where you and I are different. I love cooking for a large, very informal gathering. Back in the day, one of my neighbors, who now lives in Arizona, but we are still friends, had restaurant experience, and he helped me prep and cook all that food. We drank beer the whole time -- made the food better!

CD
As long as someone else is in charge and directing things, I'm a bit better. I used to cook at the German club we belonged to, and give me a 50lb bag of onions, a sharp knife, and my own corner of the kitchen, and I'm good. I used to like that, actually. I just don't like being "the chef."
 

ElizabethB

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I have two sisters and we love cocktail parties. Depending on the expected attendance (cost) it may be restricted to beer and wine. If the party is small there may be a liquor bar. The table will groan with platters - veggie, fruit, cheese, Charcuterie, sandwich 1/4's, assorted Petite Bouche, small sweets, Fondue. Whatever we decide to experiment with. I don't host but I do help with floral arrangements, food table setting and a lot of the cooking.
Family holiday dinners are a planned menu with everyone bringing something. I frequently contribute a large portion of the meal. My family loves my cooking and I figure that my sisters have enough to do with all of the planning, set up, execution and cleaning up. I don't do dishes unless it is a small weekend lunch at Mohter's house.
We have not entertained for a long time because the house is a disaster area. I have been working on getting things cleaned and organized one room at a time. I want to be able to have family and friends over for a cocktail party or 1 or 2 couples for dinner.
You are all my inspiration. I have learned so much from all of you and want to show off my newly found culinary skills.
My vision out runs my capability. The process of cleaning and organizing is going slower than I anticipated. Oh well. One step and one day at a time.
 

KitKat

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I used to love entertaining. Huge BBQ/pool parties, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter. I no longer enjoy it. My standards have gotten higher and I stress out before, during and after. I have evolved to patronizing restaurants for a large party. Sweet 16's, HS/college graduations, 21 bdays, etc. I still have holiday and bday celebrations at home but try to keep it to a minimum of 15 people and most of it is catered. It's still a lot of prep work and stress. If we have a dinner party, 2 couples are ideal. While most guests are delightful, we have seen our share of rudeness. My MIL and SILs were the worst, LOL (now-then it wasn't so funny).
 
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