Category Archives: Party Pointers

Easier entertaining ideas from professional party planners or THH herself.

Moveable Feasts

In a matter of an hour’s time today, I read about the idea of progressive dinners on the site of a caterer and heard the idea mentioned on a television talk show. Popular in the 50’s, this idea of moving to a different home for each course seems to be making a comeback.

The progressive dinner sounds like a great entertaining solution for hysterical hostesses and for everyone at this busy time of year. Just keep the food simple. For example, make a batch cocktail rather than offering an open bar or prepare a braised dish, which can be served at room temperature or be rewarmed when it’s your turn.

For more on the subject from New York City caterer Great Performances, go to this link:


Have a Hot Pot Party

A Mongolian hot pot party is such fun that, even if you aren’t Mongolian, you might want to purchase the necessary equipment and throw one. For the hostess, there are advantages to this cooking method: Most of the heavy prep work is done in advance; the guests can actually cook their own food, if you like, and there’s undeniable entertainment value to the format.

Everyone sits companionably around a special metal cooking vessel in which a flavorful broth is bubbling, laughing and chatting as they briefly dunk and retrieve tissue-thin slices of beef or lamb, greens and mushrooms, or watch as their host or hostess does the cooking for them. There are condiments on the table so guests can customize.

When everyone has had their fill and the broth is at its most delicious, a pile of rice noodles is added. Everyone gets a satisfying serving to complete the meal.

I was fortunate, since the mother of the host at the party I attended, who was visiting from Inner Mongolia China, made her divinely tender and tasty dumplings as an appetizer. If you don’t want to try making your own, you might order some from a local Asian restaurant or, perhaps, serve salad with an Asian dressing to start.

If you do an Internet search, you’ll find instructions for pulling off a hot pot party plus lots of sources for purchasing the pot itself.

Bamboo Bonanza

Bamboo dinnerware seemed to be everywhere this summer. I guess that many people buy it because it’s disposable or reusable, biodegradable, and made from a renewable resource. But I like its neutral tan color and classy appearance.

Used alone, bamboo makes a perfect foil for any solid or printed tablecloth, and it mixes well with printed or solid-colored paper plates. The hosts at a vegetable stir fry party that I attended recently gave every guest a bamboo charger. The over-sized dinner plates lent support to smaller red paper plates, allowing us to load up on the rice and saucy vegetables without fear of leakage or breakthrough.