A highlight from Will dinner parties ever be the same?
So holiday dinner is at my place this year. Everyone's so impressed with the meatballs of lingonberry spread the Ginger things. I may have forgotten to mention that I bought it all at Ikea. Even the plates. The exact year. Hey, everyone, and welcome back to food people. I'm Amanda Shapiro, your host, and today we're going to talk about a food thing that I have spent so much time doing that I am so excited to do again, but that I think needs a bit of a rebrand. And that's the dinner party. Okay, so here's my caveat. We are recording this in early September when vaccinated folks in many parts of the country feel comfortable gathering in each other's homes, sharing food and drinks, AKA, having dinner parties. But if that is not the case where you are, we encourage you to follow the CDC's guidance and do what feels best for you. With that said, I used to host a lot. I would have told you it was one of my favorite things, having people over for dinner. But in hindsight, I'm realizing how stressed out I was all the time. I was always tackling too many dishes that somehow all had to be on my stove or in my oven at the same time. So now, as I'm starting to unpause, I think we need a new playbook. So today I asked two BA food editors, test kitchen director Chris Morocco and associate food editor saying of ESET to help me come up with some new rules for dinner parties. What are we doing more of? What are we ditching? What are we eating? Welcome to the podcast. Thank you. Nice to be here. Thank you. So I really put you on the spot asking you to come with some strong opinions about dinner parties. But before we get into your new roles for dinner parties, how are you both feeling about having people over for dinner right now? You want to take this one thing up? I'm excited. I think things definitely need to be reassessed after the pandemic, but I'm ready to get back into it. What was your pre-pandemic dinner party lifelike? Pretty regular and definitely way too much going on. When I think back on it. Like too many people, too many dishes, too many all of the above. Okay. Just a lot. Yeah. What about you, Chris? Yeah, I feel like it was a lot before, you know? I mean, of all the things to fall by the wayside and the pandemic, not being able to host ten or 12 people was kind of like, oh, that's a shame. Sorry, I can't hang out. I think for me, this is the thing. It's like I always have had my work life and what I do in the kitchen at work and then there's like a very different reality having young kids at home. You know, holidays, any time you have to cook for more than just your nuclear family, it's about survival. You know, as much as anything else as much as any kind of culinary endeavor. So I'm looking forward to frankly for my own purposes to kind of reevaluating. What are we going to carry forward into the future and how can we be a little bit smarter about this? The entire purpose of having people over is to hang out with those people. And you have to be so intentional about it right now because you are literally deciding who do I want to bring into my bubble. So yes. You're going to hang out in the kitchen and not see anybody. That no longer works, you know? Just doesn't make sense. Right. It sounds like you already have a new rule in mind. So Chris, why don't you kick us off? Yeah, my first rule is stop hiding in the kitchen. I spent way too long hiding in the kitchen because that was my comfort zone, right? I hid behind the work so that I didn't have to do the work. I've really interacting with everybody. And when you're hosting, that's so deep. It gives you it gives you like an ability to kind of move in and out, but it's kind of like my grandma, her seat was like the jump seat that was closest to the kitchen and you barely saw her. It was like one of those seats that folds down, you know? Like, slaps back up. She was like off like a shot back to the kitchen for whatever was in there. But yeah, I don't want to do that anymore. I don't want to be stirring risotto for the 30 most critical moments while everybody's kind of hungry, kind of ready to go. I want to be there. I want to be able to hang out for that part. So what do you think it was that kept you in the kitchen? Was it stress about wanting the food to be perfect? Or is it I'm getting really deep here? Is it late in social anxiety? I think for me cooking was always a big part of my life and it was always around me and my family. But when you set your sights on a culinary career, you put a certain amount of pressure on yourself. Like I hate that thing in a recipe head note when it's like, oh, impress your Friends. It's like, why