Entertaining Tip: Have Mother, Will Travel
Claire: My tip is what I call my Three C’s. For me, the key to a successful gathering, whether a dinner party or impromptu cocktails with friends who’ve dropped by, is to be a calm, confident and curious hostess. If I’m stressed by the timing or food, guests feel it. So I use only tried and true recipes and I save time by never making appetizers, I just serve nuts, olives or make a Tomato Tart, or some version of it, ahead of time. For impromptu, I always have several jars of unusual olives and roasted nuts on hand. I also keep Amoretti biscuits in the cupboard, and many cakes and cookies freeze well. Along with a few pretty serving pieces, you can throw together snacks or sweets in minutes. The last, curiosity, keeps things lively and makes guests feel welcome – I’m genuinely curious about what they’re curious about and thinking about and ask questions that prompt other guests to join in. Not career questions, I ask what their thoughts are on an interesting topic or something cultural. And I think religion and politics are fine subjects for dinner table. Anything goes but boring!
Mia: I follow my mom’s advice: keep it simple and stick with the tried and true, don’t worry about everything being perfect, and leave enough time to take a bubble bath before the event.