The traditional seated dinner party — preceded by a formal invitation and ending with a massive pile of crockery too fancy to go in a dishwasher — seems destined for extinction.
Yet busy lives, smaller houses, urban sprawl, food delivery services and a reliance on social media do not mean the death of entertaining at home.
Wholefoods educator Kristen Pavez and food stylist and recipe developer Kate Flower, pictured, are conducting cooking workshops to revive the lost art of the dinner party, minus the stress.
“Dinner parties used to be a common occurrence but these days it all seems to be too hard,” Ms Flower said.
“We’re all so busy and feel like we have to present a meal fit for MasterChef.
“I think more importantly we should bring back good hospitality, which shouldn’t cost a bomb.
“Your friends and family will appreciate anything delivered with love and generosity.
Mrs Pavez attributed the change in the way we entertain to our more casual society.
“The dinner party as it was, I believe is dead, but we do entertain, in different ways, either around the barbecue or outside in the fresh air.
She said the key was to pre-prepare as much as possible.
Television cooking shows have shouldered some of the blame for the death of the dinner party, for setting high expectations.“I think they inspire people who have always loved food to experiment in the kitchen but if you’re not confident then it’s easy to get overwhelmed,” Ms Flower said.
Justine Murphy, marketing director for Kitchen Warehouse, believes MasterChef and My Kitchen Rules inspire home cooks to embrace new flavours and techniques.
“These shows do a lot to demystify different styles of cooking and people are keen to try it out for themselves,” she said. She agreed dinner parties had become more simple.
Mrs Pavez said the sometimes unrealistic world of social media made her friends “scared to entertain because they can’t cook to a certain level”.
Chef Sophie Budd of Taste Budds Cooking School finds inspiration rather than intimidation on social media.
“People want to know how to cook super tasty, healthy food at home and social media is the place to find ideas and be inspired,” she said.
Sue Yeap | The West Australian
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