7 Reasons Not to Have a Dinner Party
1. The bad-egg. At any dinner party, at least one person will behave badly and annoy all of the other guests. It’s always a man. Often it’s me.
2. Multi-tasking. Women can multi-task – they demonstrate this by talking during films. This means that they approach both hosting and cooking for a dinner party with confidence, which makes it all the more tragic when your tearful hostess returns from the kitchen bearing a foul-smelling tray containing something black (possibly the charred remains of a flan) and a bowl of something green and unidentifiable (no idea). If you want to see a grown-woman cry, you don’t have to go to a dinner party. You can just hide her chocolate – which is a lot easier.
3. Candles. There are always candles on the table at dinner parties but no one knows why. I don’t want to singe my arm hair every time I pour some wine or pass the salt. Why would you want to put a fire on the table?
4. Wine. Guests always bring wine with them, and it’s always the wrong one – a Barolo when the main course is a delicate fish dish, or a New Zealand sauvignon blanc to go with lamb. Why can’t guests just do something useful and bring dessert with them? Or not come?
5. Cheesecake. A plain, unadorned cheesecake is one of the best desserts ever. I don’t want cheesecake made with Baileys, I don’t want cheesecake made with fruit, nor do I want cheesecake made with chocolate. What I would like is cheesecake made with cheese. And cake. Don’t tell me that I’m getting a cheesecake for dessert and then bring me something made with gooseberries and covered in sauce! Why can no one hosting a dinner party resist cocking up a cheesecake? Is it the law?
6. Children. I was brought up in a house that often hosted dinner parties – at least one a month – but I don’t think that my siblings or I even caught sight of one until we were eighteen years old. No one has ever successfully explained why children are banished from dinner parties to me. Is it because of the candles?
7. Restaurants. There are places where a group of people can sit around a table and eat wonderful food – made to a higher standard than they could manage themselves – they’re called restaurants. The diners don’t have to get up to fetch courses, drinks or cutlery and they don’t end up with candle-wax on their carpet. You can choose what you want to eat and drink rather than have your courses compromised by your friends bizarre and varied dietary requirements, children don’t have to be hidden – they can be taken with you or looked after by a babysitter – and you don’t have to wash-up afterwards. I sincerely hope they catch on.