Usually I host quite a lot of dinners over Christmas and New Year's -- approximately one on every evening that I am not out at someone else's party or dinner -- but this year I took it easier as I just did a two-week Christmas markets cruise through Eastern Europe and Germany, leaving just before the peak holiday rush began and returning just in time for Christmas Eve.
And since then, there have been friends and relatives to meet up with every single night. So fatigue and a bit of work caught up with me, and entertaining at home took the back seat.
A VERY NICE ROAST BEEF DINNER
But today, I asked some friends over for a roast beef dinner which turned out very nicely.
The meal was very good, if I have to say so myself, and I deliberately made the slab of rib-eye rare and then prepared a tableside griller for guests who wanted their roast beef slices more on the medium side.
We began with champagne, and then I opened a bottle of red from the 1990s and then we ended with multiple nightcaps of a 27-year-old Hibiki.
MY IDEAL DINNER PARTY
As for guests at my dinner parties, I have several informal parameters.
My ideal number is between a dinner for two and for four because I like intimate, in-depth conversation rather than general social chatter. And I dislike having to divide one's attention between 10 guests, for example, as this makes me tune out quite quickly.
THE MAGIC NUMBER
And my maximum number for hosting a dinner is generally about three couples. If it's more than this, the conversation tends to get too diluted unless everyone knows each other very well -- in which case it becomes a party.
But I don't cook dinner for parties, I cook dinner to get to know people better, so large numbers don't work for me.
That said, I have hosted some very large parties including Travelife Italy Night with 485 guests and a formal seating plan, Travelife Japan Night with about 275 guests and a formal seating plan, and a joint birthday party with my friend Mr. Jaded with 400 of our friends coming in all night.
WHY I INVITE FRIENDS OVER
I also choose the mix of guests way more carefully than most people, taking into account the personality, interests, and occupation of each guests. In other words, I curate my dinners with great detail, from the exactly right mix of guests down to the plates to use and the decor on the table.
I so dislike just inviting a bunch of people I know and hoping they all get along and find something to talk about.
A PRETTY PERFECT EVENING
|Vegetables flown in from Budapest|
for tonight's side dishes
We all laughed, talked and planned trips together, and everyone had seconds of everything including the roast beef and the dessert.
We finished all the alcohol save for the Hibiki, and we might have sat all night with the Hibiki, too, if only I didn't have work tomorrow, and someone else had to play golf while another person was flying to Hong Kong.
But this is just how it always is in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.