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The Bedrock of Entertaining

Suzanne Pollak

Dinner parties are the bedrock of entertaining.  There is no better way to get to know someone than by having them over and cooking for them. A thousand nights in restaurants will never create the same amount of intimacy.  By allowing someone into your house, you are showing them your sense of style, letting them see the books you like to read, the food you like to cook: in short, who you really are.  A little bit of luxury goes a long way at home. An Old Fashioned, a few oysters in a pan roast and a spoonful of chocolate mousse set the mood for an evening to remember.  And you created it all yourself!

 The Dean’s Cheat Sheet

7 is the perfect dinner party number. One conversation shared by the whole group and enjoyed with maximum conviviality.  

Candlelight only, please. The less you can see the better everyone looks.  It is by far the most flattering of all the lights.  

Use your whole house i.e. drinks in one room, dinner at the table and coffee and cordials while lounging sofa side in your living room or den or even outside if the weather permits.

You only need one go-to menu.  It’s the Dean’s job to pair you with the right one.

Keep to a schedule.  If the cocktail hour is actually 2 hours, then someone may have a breakdown - and a drunken one, too - on the living  room floor.

Outsourcing some of the meal is brilliant.  It relieves stress and may make the party happen as opposed to being just a fantasy. No one turns down a bowl of Haagen Dazs or a dessert from from the local bakery and very few guests mind bringing a single cheese with a column of crackers.

Here are a few of our favorite local spots for outsourcing fabulous courses.

Christophe'sgreat for those last minute sweets needed for any party.

Goat. Sheep. Cow. - the perfect place to shop for specialty cheeses, wines and meats to bring as a hostess gift or to supply as an appetizer.

The Wine Shop of Charleston - the place to buy super size bottles of wine to woo even the most jaded palate

The Beer Exchange - for the speciality beers which is a must have in every hipster's frig.