It's a Dinner Party, Not a Firing Squad

When I lived in Italy many years ago, it was all about the dinner party--planned or impromptu. My husband and I were either hosting one or attending one. Having people over for a meal wasn’t something reserved for weekends or special occasions; it was just what everyone did. Some made elaborate meals, others just simple pasta and a salad; some had spotless homes, others, not so much, but mostly it was about putting something together and enjoying it in the company of friends. It wasn't about perfection--which made it all the more perfect. When I moved back to America, I looked for my beloved dinner parties. Where were they? Aside from a small handful of folks, many of my New York people were either too overwhelmed with their lives, too anxious about what to serve, too panicked about mismatched plates, or just frozen in their tracks,  generally unable to cope with the whole idea.

For the dinner party-phobic, I offer a few suggestions:

What are your secrets to a successful dinner party?

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