Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gourmet Dinner Night: Fiesta!

It's over! My gourmet dinner night came and went and I think it was a success. In my last post, many of you suggested we just go out to eat once a month and save ourselves the trouble. While I think that is a brilliant idea, and I eat out often, I do love the idea of learning to cook and entertain in my own home.

Just as the formal dining room is going the way of the dodo, formal dinners are kind of dying off. My mom is a great cook, as were my grandmothers, and I just don't ever cook unless I have to do it for something like this. So I'm glad I got the opportunity but I'm also very glad it's over. Plus, I love going to the other girls' homes and enjoying their food.

Here is what I have learned from my past four years of hosting dinner group:

1. Use the opportunity to buy new serving pieces/kitchen stuff. I got new red plates for Christmas knowing I would use them for dinner group. I also bought these bowl at Taipan imports especially for the occasion:

2. You will be pinched for time. Cook first, clean later. If you run out of time, people won't care that your floor isn't mopped (I hope!) and they'll appreciate that you had decent food. Once again, I had to employ this method of floor cleaning:

3. Try to farm out your kids while you are getting ready to avoid becoming Bobby. Thanks so much Sarah for watching the rugs.

4. If the kids are around, put them to work:

Never mind, just get rid of them.

5. Set the table cute and hope it makes up for where your food is lacking. I copied the centerpieces from another blog.

6. Get outside help when you need it but be sure to hide the evidence.

7. Serve a lot of food so if something bombs, there are still some good items people remember.

8. Sit back and enjoy watching your friends enjoy the meal.

9. Hope that your friend Jaime brings her darling 5 week old baby girl. Get your "baby fix."

10. Put the husband to work taking pictures and doing dishes. After he deals with the aftermath, he won't want you to ever cook again.

I'll post my recipes and favorite food blog tomorrow.


Ashley said...

What did you get from Rio? The beans?

That looks like fun and a great success. The number one key to any preparation is getting rid of the kids. Even though Dino is precious in his car shirt. I'm glad it went well--your centerpieces and new dishes looked great. I'm excited for the recipes and hope they are easy.

Jill said...

I like the bits of wisdom you've gleaned from dinner group. I have gained similar experience through being in a book club forever.

I am a big proponent of the "wipes on the feet" method of floor cleaning and the Cafe Rio sous chef method as well.

At the end of the day it's all about spending a great evening with friends, and I love that!

Amy M. said...

Everything was DREAMY. I can't wait to make your recipes. Your house looked spotless to boot. I had such a fun night. I'm still laughing.
Yes, getting rid of kids is the first and foremost important tip. I hope I can find a lucky taker this year on my day to host.

brooke said...


I got the beans from Rio. I figured it was either that or they were comin' from the can.

nic said...

Thanks for such a fun night. The food was fabulous and so was the decorations. I loved all of your new stuff. Now I have a lot to live up to. I do hate it when it is my turn to cook, but I love to go to other peoples houses so it is well worth it. The post was right on.

sheryl said...

There was never any doubt that it would be less than a success! Since you are so into food...LOL... here is an awsome site I was given from a girl here in st. George. This girl has actually been on the Rachael Wray show and gave up the job offer to be a mom. Prudence Pennywise

http://prudencepennywise.blogspot.com/ I don't know why it didnt hyperlink.

Christie said...

Those centerpieces are fantastic. I need step-by-step instructions so I can copy for a baby shower I'm throwing. Help!

Melissa Walker said...

I see the picture of you and Sam on your wedding day and I thought--I should see all of your pictures since I was only there in the bride's room--I would love to see how the rest of YOUR day turned out! And your party looks fantastic! If I am ever back living in Utah, I want to crash one of your parties!

Jill Tew said...

Brooke, it was definitely a success! Everything was so good...going back for 3rds good! Thanks for another fun evening.

Laura B. said...

Fabulous! The centerpieces look fabulous and the table was divine. I loved that you schlepped in food from Rio. Perfect!
Great job!!

gab said...

Brooke...I can see we are soulmates. I also love to host dinner parties, love Mexican food and love, love, love red! Your red dishes made me smile.

Pandy said...

Congrats on a successful night! I can see you have taken some of the best from your mom. You are both domestic divas!

I love the red, too.

As much as I talk about eating out, I do enjoy a fancy table at home. I'd much rather set the table than cook the food.

I love that you have so many girl-friends. They're a blessing!

The Mostess said...

I'm down with farming out the kiddios. There's no way to get any real cleaning done with them underfoot.

Loved the flowers and the adorable polka-dot bowls!

I love entertaining for this very reason. It's not often we get to go fancy and show off--I relish the times when I can do both!

Anonymous said...


I love your blog (and your sister's)! You two are so funny!!

We don't know each other and I have never commented before but I found a nugget in Real Simple magazine I thought you would appreciate. Check out Slipper Genie at Amazon.com. When I saw the little slipper mops I thought of this post and you mopping the floor with paper towels.

Thanks for your witty posts! I always look forward to reading what you have to publish.