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Old 10-01-2016, 02:00 PM   #1
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What's the normal dinner party menu where you live?

When I lived in England, we usually served three - four courses. Typically, they would be:

Appetiser - nibbles with drinks
Hors d'Oevres - first course, typically a smoked salmon dish First course - stuffed mushrooms, soufflè and such like
Second course - some kind of grand style of main course dish
like Chateaubriand etc
A dessert designed to balance out the rest of the menu.


Where I live now, it's a nightmare. They're all brilliant cooks, and the tradition is 6 + courses, so we would start with something like:

Aperitivo. Vital. Cocktails and Martini' s and the like with nibbles (frittata (Spanish style omelette cut into small pieces and spiked with the obligatory toothpick, bruschette of several types, baked savouries and so on). Vital because Piedmont is the home of apertif drinks like Martini.


Antipasto: Chicken and vegetables in aspic (for example)
First course: Veal tongue with salsa verde
2nd course: Consommè of chicken
3rd course: veal in tuna fish sauce
4th:course:either fish risotto or something like gnocchi with Bolognese sauce
5th course: Brasato al Barolo (Braised topside of beef marinated in Barolo wine)
6th course: selection of cheeses
7th course: a dessert such as Piedmontese 'Bunet', a dessert made from
amaretti, cocao, whipped egg whites, brandy and milk
Finally, after-dinner drinks!
The custom is that all the wives of those invited turn up on the day and set to preparing it all.

You wouldn't find that in the Italy's cities. It's very much a country tradition. The problem is, that it ends up as being the meal for the week, but all that's compensated by the feeling of togetherness that you don't really get in the city.

I'm not really expecting any contributions to this, but I just wanted to share this experience with you, I suppose it's like you're 'pot luck' (is that right?)

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Old 10-01-2016, 02:10 PM   #2
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Well here it is very informal, like grab pizza and if some one makes dinner and it not new year it is one dish and dessert, finer dinner is three.

We are more known for our fika, which is 7 bite sized cookies, 1 soft roll, one cake with no icing and then a cake with filling and icing, if you want to be really posh and old fashion and it should be home baked . And coffee or tea of course.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:11 PM   #3
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What's the normal dinner party menu where you live?

Gah! I'm wiping sweat off my face as I read this, Di! You guys really put on the dog!

With our potlucks here, everyone just brings a fave dish, like 7 layer salad, cocktail weenies in sauce, mac and cheese, etc.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:24 PM   #4
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Where I'm at, anything goes....
Anything that has number of courses attached to it gets a bit formal for my taste.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:26 PM   #5
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Every dinner party we have thrown has been very casual. Its how we grew up. Most often it revolves around holidays. Even though Karen and I like to go out to more formal dining and indulging in good wine, our parties tend to be beer and cocktail affairs.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:43 PM   #6
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Casual here. With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year, 90% of the time it's an outdoor grilling get-together. Often others will bring a dish - usually some kind of veggie or pasta salad, maybe some fruit, rolls, dessert, etc.

Sometimes even Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinners are based on outdoor cooking.
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Old 10-01-2016, 02:54 PM   #7
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Most are casual, but I've done a few that were somewhat formal. No more than five courses, though, and usually three or four. Six seems excessive.
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Old 10-01-2016, 03:29 PM   #8
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Oh I totally forgot Smörgåsbord and gående bord. Our version buffet, those we do for midsummer, birthday, Christmas, Easter and bigger events with a lot of people. I do gående bord for Christmas.

Smörgåsbord, is just a lot of sandwich stuff and different breads and Gående bord is a buffet means walking table.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:24 PM   #9
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We haven't had dinner parties with more than one other couple in quite some time, since I got really sick in 2007. We have had all kinds - buffets where I cooked almost everything, potluck buffets, outdoor grilling with salads, etc., more formal sit-down dinners with at most three courses (appetizer or meat/cheese/fruit/crackers tray with cocktails, main dish with sides and wine or beer, dessert), and holiday dinners where everyone brings something or helps cook.

The Italian version sounds seriously excessive. With the aperitivo and antipasto preceding the first course, your list actually adds up to nine courses! I don't even have that many dishes, or space to store them! Sounds like a holdover from the days of the noblemen
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:34 PM   #10
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As GG stated, I wouldn't have enough dishes either. The guests would have to donate their hubcaps.
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:09 PM   #11
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I wouldn't attempt a meal like that without servants, way too much jumpin' up and down for me!

When I did have people in it was usually a few nibbles, drinks, drinks, drinks, a salad, lasagna, Italian bread, a scoop of ice cream with a cookie or two from Pepperidge Farms, coffee, drinks, drinks and drinks!

We have a couple of restaurants in the area that still serve those elaborate meals, this is one example.

The Horned Dorset Inn
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:10 PM   #12
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Yeah - Italian dinner parties are serious stuff - even though the portions are more like tasting portions. You can imagine why the handiest wedding a bride can have is 'Silver Spoon'. But that's the way it is here, and if you can walk to the door when you get up to leave you're lucky. Piedmont, where we live, is the worst, and the Mrs' reputation is at stake well. Very often, the wives join forces, especially for the Harvest Festival celebrations (Here we celebrate the bringing in of a good vintage), and those are really impressive. The one big challenge is the preparation. Nowadays, the wives have the advantage of freezers, so a lot of it can be done ahead of the day, even if your kitchen is small because your apartment is small if you live in a town or city. More and more wives bring a dish to the party.
Strangely enough, these get-togethers are very nice and very convivial. Most of the guests have to stay seated to let the others dish up, and at the end all the wives help with the washing up even if it's just stacking the dishwasher. The conversation's good too. There's always a good laugh to be had. I do one dinner party a year. Very often, the alternative to a dinner like that is good salami, good wine and good bread, but that's not formal. You can understand, though, why these smaller get togethers have a certain appeal!

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Old 10-01-2016, 11:48 PM   #13
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I remember a million years ago when my parents had dinner parties. It would be drinks first with a choice of things on crackers that were simple but tasty. The main course was generally a standing rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, and a couple of veggies t hat were not memorable. Dessert was apple crisp. The roast and apple crisp were always good. Sometimes the Yorkshire pudding did right and sometimes it was flat. Our guests didn't know what it was supposed to be like and it wasn't bad even when it came out flat. My dad would come out with the big carving knife and fork and a steel, make a show of steeling the knife, and carve up the roast.

I don't live like that, nor would I want to. A good dinner party to me is a crawfish boil or burgers and dogs on the grill.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:02 AM   #14
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I don't think I've ever had a real dinner party, most dinners are for family and the holidays. Everyone brings what they like and we share, more like a pot luck.
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Old 10-02-2016, 02:42 AM   #15
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Wow, di, that sounds like something! As in, I might be OK as a guest, but please don't ask me to host!

The only formal dinners I've ever been to involved gifts. As in, weddings. And even some of the weddings weren't as formal as dining out when attending one of Himself's company Christmas parties. But there was that ONE time we were a substitute couple at a Dining Club meeting my best friend back home (BFBH) roped us into...........

Personally, I've never hosted one. The closest was the entire family around one table at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. And since everything was family style, everything but dessert was on the table at the beginning of the meal.
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:43 AM   #16
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Enough dishes, well I can tell you we manage to feed 70+ people while only having 22 plates, not all came in the same time. As soon as some one cleared thier plate we took it and cleaned it, repeat for forks, knifes and every else. I stood with my hands in a sink for 4 hours.

Best part, the sister to the birthday man ( he was 50 so, no boy) said Oh I didnt realized my brother had that many plates. So I guess no one notice at all that the plates where reused.
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Old 10-02-2016, 04:54 AM   #17
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I did a couple, once for 4, once for 6 people before Craig and had enough dishes due to having access to my mother's full service for 8 china, including 4 plate sizes, 3 bowl sizes, chargers, plus a plethora of serving dishes, and I was gifted upon first marriage a full set of silverware for 8 with all the different forks, spoons, knives, etc. Mother also had a pretty decent set of glassware for the china. Obviously was much younger then. Don't think I'd have the stamina to do it now, even with making stuff ahead. And I agree with whoever mentioned having help for something like that. I'd hire a high school kid and teach them how to serve if nothing else.
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Old 10-02-2016, 07:29 AM   #18
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I guess it takes a village to prepare a dinner!

That would never work for us. I wear the apron in the house (figure of speech - I don't actually wear an apron, as it looks too girly), so I wouldn't fit in with the wives.

When we have people over for dinner, it's no more than two or three other couples. Usually someone volunteers for an appetizer or a dessert. I try to choose a menu where I can have pretty much everything done in advance so I can spend time with our guests. Usually fairly simple and healthy. For example, when we had some of our bike riding friends over a couple of weeks ago for a coastal ride, I had marinated chicken thighs ready to go on the grill (a 10 minute job), pasta salad and green salad on the side. Friends brought the appetizer (cheese and fruit), and we passed on dessert. Didn't skimp on the wine, though.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CakePoet View Post
Enough dishes, well I can tell you we manage to feed 70+ people while only having 22 plates, not all came in the same time. As soon as some one cleared thier plate we took it and cleaned it, repeat for forks, knifes and every else. I stood with my hands in a sink for 4 hours.

Best part, the sister to the birthday man ( he was 50 so, no boy) said Oh I didnt realized my brother had that many plates. So I guess no one notice at all that the plates where reused.
That works for a buffet, but not for a sit-down dinner with up to nine courses.
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Old 10-02-2016, 10:36 AM   #20
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GotGarlic: It was sit down dinner but only 3 courses...
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