5 Commandments for Entertaining at Home

Hosting guests for dinner can be stressful if you’re unprepared. Keep these tips in mind to pull off your next dinner party with confidence!

1. Always start with a thoughtful cheese board.

Whether your gathering is large or small, it’s essential to offer something to your guests to graze while everyone chats (and perhaps while you’re putting the finishing touches on the main meal!). See this article for our tips on creating an awesome cheese spread.

(image via Just Jan’s)

2. Skip the individual cocktails.

Unless you’re hosting a very intimate group, opt for bottles of wine or a mixed cocktail pitcher. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself constantly running to the kitchen to mix more drinks! Try making a big batch of sangria with seasonal fresh fruit or a large pitcher of the classic Pimm’s Cup.

(Summer Sipper Sangria — Garlic & Zest)

3. Relegate scented candles to the bathroom.

Because that Bonfire Nights candle won’t enhance the aroma of your braised short ribs, keep the candles in the kitchen and dining area unscented.

4. Avoid polarizing ingredients.

If you know your guests and their taste preferences well, don’t hold back, but if you’re serving a lot of guests or have a mix of acquaintances coming for dinner, skip ingredients like raw jalapeño and onion, cilantro, and the like.

5. Clean as you go (and start with a clean dishwasher!).

This tip truly applies for anytime you cook. It may seem like hassle in the moment, but you’ll be immensely thankful as the night progresses if you are diligent about cleaning up as you go along. Tiny messes are much more manageable than big messes! Lastly, start the cooking process with a clean dishwasher so you can load it as you go.

Michelle Harrison, SideChef brand + community manager

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