December 25, 2010
1. The best parties involve a certain amount of serendipity. Don't be so organized that everything's done when the guests arrive. Let people pitch in and help in the kitchen. It’s a great ice-breaker.
2. The guest list is important. If everyone knows everyone else, the conversation can be dull. And if nobody knows anybody else, it can be awkward. Gather a comfortable group of people who are easy with each other, mix in a few new friends, and watch the party take off.
3. Don't serve soup or any kind of first course that means jumping up while everyone is seated to prepare the main course. Put out lots of nibbley things to begin with – pate, cheese, salume, nuts, homemade crackers, some kind of vegetable dip. Or make something hot that people can stand in the kitchen eating right from the oven, like a quiche or boureks. Bring the salad to toss at the table, so when you sit down for the main course you won't have to get up again until dessert. It just makes the evening easier.
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