Tip #90: Host dinner parties.
My best friend growing up had a penchant for reading Emily Post’s Etiquette. It was fuel in the private war she waged against loud gum chewers and clumsy utensil wielders everywhere. While I could certainly pass a good hour with her, lying on my stomach, flipping through the fusty pages of her vintage edition, I admit that my level of enthusiasm for the rigid rules were somewhat less fervent than hers. So much fussiness, so little time.
But if you live in a tiny apartment and you’d like to maintain your sanity and still have friends for dinner, some advance planning, if not rigid rule abiding, can really help. I’ve suggested before that meals with guests should consist of simple fare: pizza or sushi, or something easy to clean. And that sit-down dinners should only happen en couple. My position on both points remains, but lately I’ve gotten a little bit braver about actually making a meal to serve guests.
Here, a few more tips for entertaining in a closet tiny apartment:
1. Make the meal in advance. Or at least most of it. I find meal prep to be pleasingly cathartic. Chop your kale, get your sauce simmering, hell, bake a cake. But try to do it before the guests descend. This is probably something that people living in large houses do too, but some of us are slow to catch on.
2. Serve a one dish wonder. Tart, anyone?
3. Set out the dishes and utensils early. Asking a guest to please excuse you 15 times while you try to squeeze yourself into a blocked cabinet isn’t really pleasant for anyone, and the poor dear doesn’t have anywhere else to stand.
4. Shunt coats and hats and tiny puffer jackets to the bed, or otherwise away from the “kitchen.” Guests love to hang coats on the backs of chairs and dear lord if that doesn’t make things crowded, fast.
5. Cover your couch with a discreet sheet (especially if one of your dinner guests is a year old and flinging penne across the room…). I know it sounds grandmotherly (although in the case of my grandmother, the sheet was plastic and anything but discreet), but upholstery is a beast to clean and no one one wants to spend the night looking at your pursed lips and tense shoulders.