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Whether for work or play, hosting a mealtime get-together is the same: an adventure, with guests to enjoy and get to know, at a restaurant or in our own backyard. Let’s go! Go local! Pick a date. Invite guests. Decide the menu. Set a table. Enjoy a cocktail. Here’s how to launch!

The Guests: Think about (1) who mixes well with others; (2) who haven’t you seen recently; (3) who would you like to know more. Make a list. Done. The number of guests depends upon your own comfort level.

The Food: Serve a meal that soothes your soul. Nothing stressful allowed. Enjoy shopping for yummy ingredients yet keep the menu fresh and without too much fuss. Source from a local Farmer’s Market or your favorite food purveyors.

It’s ok not to cook the whole meal. Frankly, “order out”, purchase parts of the meal or ask friends to bring dishes. A tortilla chips copy smallWelcome Cocktail (alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions are nice) adds to the fun. We like cocktail recipes from Shake by Eric Prum and Josh Williams.

Create a menu that lets you be at your own table as much as possible during the gathering. This means that most of the meal is almost ready at the start of the party.

The Table: For a centerpiece, think “in season” and what do I already own.   Look outside, visit a flower market, explore your own cupboards. If needing to cultivate your own creativity muse arrange the flowers (the night before) or, if not, buy some small plants. Candles are a “must have” as are a knife, fork, spoon and napkin for each place setting. Water and glasses on the table and plates are needed too. Asking guests to bring their own plate might be an interesting twist and save you from washing multiple dishes at the end of the evening. Why not!

Guests arrive at 7:00 pm. Now what? Let the hosting adventure begin!

Greet each guest. Express genuine interest. Ask thoughtful questions and then, relax and listen. Yes, you’ll need to pay attention to the clock a little bit and get the food on the table. But, mainly, just be right there with your guests. Savor the interactions as much as the variety of flavors. There’s not a “right or wrong” – just an open, happy heart grateful to be surrounded by family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances or those new to your community.

Not sure what to ask? At a recent Slow Food & A Table In Time Dine-Around, we focused on a “Celebrate Local” theme. Here are a few conversation starters from that gathering:

  • What’s been your favorite Colorado place this summer and why?
  • What is the last book you read?
  • Where’s your favorite view of Denver?

The evening is almost over. Coffee has been served and only crumbs from the fruit crisp remain. Now is the time to clink a glass and thank the guests for coming. Prepared notes are not needed because whatever you say at that moment will be right. Feeling gratitude will be easy.

There’s a world right here for us, a local adventure full of community! Host now before the summer is over and relish every bit of this glorious season! Let me know how it goes and or feel free to contact me ahead – hosting is part of the life’s “good stuff”!


Photos from Jennifer Olson Photography.

Tortillas and salsa from Sandra Morales of Cooking For Prosperity- the best food!!!!

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