I like to organize dinner parties by size — Small, Medium, Large. Each one possesses a particular feeling, mood, and purpose. Each one has its merits and drawbacks.
The Small Dinner Party (3-4 people) is the party of choice for introverts or when you’re looking for a long, deep chat that restores your belief in humanity and all that is good.
When you invite a few friends over for dinner, the talk around the table becomes cozy and intimate. There’s more room for every person to share and to share deeply. A table for four is an invitation to conversation and connection. This intentional moment can’t be overlooked in the busy quest we call life. Here you can talk profoundly about life and expect your guests to engage just as deeply with you and each other.
Yet the intimacy of this table feels risky. With fewer people, there’s less chance to disengage if we’re not feeling it. No room to hide if things get awkward. Instinctively, we reach for our closest friends. The intimacy of a 3-4 person table can leave you vulnerable, stripped to the bone.
As the host, less people also means less stress in preparing the food. If you’ve never thrown a dinner party before, this is a good place to start. Most recipes are geared towards 4 servings, so it’s easy to find a recipe that will feed your guests. Choose one main dish and a few easy sides to round out the meal.
For example, in the winter, you can serve Chicken Cacciatore with mashed potatoes and a simple green salad.
In the summer, you can make Gochujang Chicken Tacos and serve everything in small bowls at the table so people can help themselves.
For fall or spring, you can serve Bo Ssam, made easier in the Instant Pot. (This is my shameless plug but also easy ways to get started on your hosting adventure.)
Or, invite some friends over for brunch and serve Cornmeal Waffles. Whether you serve it with sweet or savory sides, that’s up to you.
The small dinner party reminds us that we need substance in our relationships. As we build towards authentic community, we can make the table a place of belonging and connection. We do this with simple tasks: setting the table, cooking a meal, and being open to friendship.