Most people have experienced having surprise guests. Quite often, these are well-meaning people who have decided to drop by your home because they happen to be in the area. Sometimes, they just stay for a bit. But there are also occasions wherein they end up lingering longer than expected because you have a lot of stories to exchange.
When your unexpected guests end up staying close to dinner time, the most logical thing to do is to invite them to stay for the meal — even if you have not gotten around to cooking anything yet. Instant dinner parties are easy enough to pull off, so do not panic.
Here are some of the brilliant ideas to use when throwing a sudden dinner party for surprise guests.
1. Casually inspect your pantry for available ingredients.
Do you have pasta? But there’s no tomato sauce for spaghetti? Do you have lots of garlic? How about cheese? Mushrooms? Chinese leftovers maybe?
See what you have on hand because, most likely, you can whip up something with most of the items in your pantry. If you need recipes, go online. Pinterest has an abundance of recipes for you to choose from and you may even be able to create several different dishes for your dinner spread. Do not be afraid to recycle leftovers, with the right recipe, nobody would know that you’re serving them what you had for dinner the night before.
2. Opt for simple recipes.
Surprise guests do not expect much for a meal since they didn’t really give you a lot of time to prepare. So, do not feel bad about serving them simple food such as aglio olio, which is an Italian classic, and only requires about five ingredients. Or even breakfast! Breakfast for dinner is also good and most people get a kick out of it and actually wonder aloud why they opt out of a great egg sandwich for dinner.
3. Make the effort to fancy up your dinner setting.
Get some candles out and some of your elegant dinnerware. Dinner with friends is just as much about the setting as the food. Also, if you are just serving simple food for the dinner party, the fancy setup provides a lovely little contrast to that.
Additionally, using different dining utensils can also create a more joyful atmosphere for the instant get-together. If you intend to serve Spam fries, for example (which are actually a hit among young foodies), provide your guests with the extra chopsticks from your Chinese takeout. A lot of folks automatically feel fancy when a meal can be eaten with chopsticks.
4. Create a variety of dips.
There’s nothing like a nice selection of dips or sauces to fancy up raw veggies, fried chicken, meatballs, spring rolls, sausages, and other frozen food. If you have mayo, mustard, vinaigrette, catsup, cheese, olive oil, butter, different herbs and spices, and a lemon, you can make different kinds of dips and sauces, and give a fresh twist to all-too-familiar dishes.
5. If you wish to impress — order in.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with ditching the cooking responsibility and letting the pros do the work for you. Order tempura from a Japanese restaurant or gourmet desserts from a bakery and just focus on making your dinner party a truly pleasant experience for everyone.
Don’t feel bad about ordering in — even the contestants of “Come Dine with Me” (the ultimate dinner party reality show in the UK) have ordered in for dinner. Everybody will enjoy the perfectly cooked food and each other’s company.
When you have people over for dinner, be they expected or unexpected guests, what you really want is for everybody to have a good time. It does not matter too much if you just make do with whatever’s available in your pantry or if you just have dinner delivered to your home.
What matters the most is how you esteem your guests. Treat them warmly and express your joy that they remembered and decided to check up on you.
AUTHOR BIO :- Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Horeca Trade LLC with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.