Archive for the ‘Entertaining’ Category

Service of Obstreperous Guests: What To Do

Monday, November 15th, 2021

‘Tis the season–there will soon be lots of entertaining going on especially for the vaccinated. Are we ready?

No surprise the subject of guests who cause discomfort came up with friends I saw last week. I reminisced with one about an incident that happened at his dinner table a few years back. We could laugh about the eccentricity now but it made him anxious at the time. My friend and his wife were welcoming a couple to town. The new neighbor put a loaded gun next to his plate. “Is the gun loaded?” he asked. It was. He requested his guest put it in his jacket in the hall. The man argued he never went anywhere without his gun but eventually relented.

Another friend was hosting a dinner party and a last minute guest she didn’t know–a pal asked if he could bring him–wondered if it was OK if he smoked pot and offered the others to join him. Before anyone answered she said she didn’t allow smoking in her home. [Tenants in my apartment house sign an agreement that there is no smoking period–even on our balconies or in front of the building.]

She also told us about an in law of a buddy who arrived at her home badly inebriated. That visitor held hostage the conversation with her angry rants and nobody could get in a word.

I recall a restaurant review many years ago–I’ve written about it before–in which the critic loved the food, service and ambiance but interspersed with her compliments she quoted the boisterous and vicious argument of a couple seated nearby. The restaurant did not receive the stars it should have, she wrote, because the Maitre D’ should have told the couple to keep it civil or leave.

A bunch of friends addressed the restaurateur’s challenge. Some felt the noisy couple should be asked to go and one, who had witnessed a similarly loud fight, felt that she should have been compensated for a free meal as nothing was done to quiet the couple.

The hostess in the instances above asked me “What would you do about a trouble-making, quarrelsome or out of control guest?” a question which I ask you. Should a restaurant manager evict unruly patrons–including shrieking children–in the interest of the comfort of others while at risk of losing a loyal customer or facing a nasty confrontation?



Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Service of Come on Over Sometime for Dinner or the Weekend–Just Not Soon

Monday, February 15th, 2021

Photo: jetsetter.com

I declined tempting invitations to visit friends for a weekend in the country last fall, family at Thanksgiving and Christmas and dinner at a friend’s apartment yesterday so when I saw Ronda Kaysen’s New York Times article, “When Can I Be a House Guest Again?” I stopped everything to read it hoping for a free pass.

She quoted Doctors Ashish K. Jha and Ingrid Katz of Brown University’s School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School respectively. They’d chimed in throughout the piece which ended: “So what happens if two adults are vaccinated? Can they get together without masks? Can they rent a house for the weekend? The answer to those questions, according to Dr. Jha and Dr. Katz, is a tentative yes, assuming everyone is at a low risk for severe illness and the community spread is low.”

Photo: popsugar.com

Translation for me: I’m not packing my bags or buying a bottle of wine to bring to my friend’s place just yet even though I have an appointment to get my second vaccine.

I’m way behind others in socializing yet I’m still not ready to invite anyone inside my apartment for a glass of wine or pot luck. Not entertaining impacts what’s happening in my apartment. There’s a pile of shoes by the front door [supposedly keeping the virus off my floors but that’s not happening because inevitably after I’ve put them on to go out I realize I forgot something and walk all around the apartment to fetch it.] I used to keep a pin-perfect place should someone drop by and because I liked returning from the office to a neat home. I go out for short bits now but not long enough to require a welcome home to a perfect place.

But I digress.

What are you planning to do about weekend visits and entertaining indoors? What if your friends or family members refuse to be vaccinated? With my approach will I have a friend in the world by the time the pandemic is under control? Is your home as neat as it used to be?

Photo: southernliving.com

Service of Entertaining: Industry Guru Shares Tops in Table Décor

Monday, June 13th, 2016

F & P kitchen

 

I love to entertain though time and life get in the way so I don’t do it as often as I once did.  One of the most fun parts is to dress my table. Boy am I off trend!

Allison Zisko, tabletop editor at the business magazine HFN, told International Furnishings and Design Association members and guests how folks are entertaining these days and what products they are using to do it. We met in a perfect spot: The month-old Fisher & Paykel Experience Center [photo above] in the Architect’s and Designer’s Building in NYC. 

The venue set the stage. We were surrounded by sleek, high end induction cooktops, convection wall ovens, refrigerators and DishDrawers in a creatively architected space designed to show off the products and welcome visitors. And there was a bonus: We were greeted by Fisher & Paykel’s Paula Cecere Smith who is more than the showroom’s design and architecture manager; she’s also a pro when it comes to entertaining. Her sidekick, executive chef Tagere Southwell, always surprises with imaginative and scrumptious treats–miniature mouthfuls of perfect size made on the spot. She didn’t disappoint.

Paula Smith, Fisher & Paykel design & architect manager

Paula Smith, Fisher & Paykel design & architect manager

If you’re looking for a hostess or wedding gift or to throw your own party and want to add something new to your table, read on. 

We clearly entertain as we dress–informally.

OUT: cups and saucers and tables set with fine porcelain and silver.

IN

  • Of all categories, beverage and barware sell best i.e. decanters and glasses for specialty drinks. Zisko showed us a whisky glass with a hole to hold a cigar! Cutware, if any, is minimal; glassware is clear and contemporary, dishwasher safe, chip and shatter resistant.
  • Melamine [high end plastic] that sports formal patterns for both in and outdoors: You may grill  or order out but you want to serve a hot dog or pizza on something pretty that’s not paper.
  • As beer styles trend so do different shapes and sizes of glasses to hold ale, stout, larger etc; the same with whiskey.
  • Single bowl meals are big, hence, bowls to house them.
  • Mugs generate huge business.
  • White dishes represent the bulk of sales.
  • Gold finish has outpaced platinum for borders and rim decoration as well as flatware. Copper–warm and rustic–is popular.
  • Gray pops up everywhere in homes including on the table.
  • Farm-to-table influence appears in rustic, artisanal style products.
  • Pieces feature mixed materials such as glass or metal with wood and metal with concrete.
  • Customized tableware—monograms are popular.
  • Manufacturers now pre-mix patterns and sell them in boxes because customers aren’t comfortable doing the coordinating.
  • The number one bridal registry gift is a KitchenAid mixer, as much a status symbol to display on a counter as an appliance for bakers and ice cream makers. Zisko says when not in use the mixer often serves double duty to hold fruit and even mail.

On Zisko’s radar:

  • Products made of cork.
  • Mugs decorated with recipes.
  • Glasses with “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on them.IFDA Fisher Paykel event screen turned

She reported the big news at tabletop market this year was trend-setting 81-year old Michael Fina’s decision to close its 5th Avenue store. There it sold china, glassware, cutlery and jewelry. It is now an online-only retailer partnering with Amazon for distribution.

If you own formal dinnerware, do you use it? Do you like to dress a table or consider it a waste of time? Have you changed the way and place you entertain? Is it easy or difficult these days to find perfect gifts for people who still throw dinners and parties?

 Easter table 2016

Service of Silent Guests

Monday, January 12th, 2015

woman at desk

What is it about responding to invitations? Ellen Byron wrote about the chronic avoidance in The Wall Street Journal with two titles: In the paper, “Please. Pretty Please. R.S.V.P,” and online, “Nobody RSVPs anymore.” The “anymore” in the latter title was a head scratcher given that this breach of manners has been happening for eons in both my personal and professional lives.

Byron reported that one company hired a person to follow up with 3,300 travel agents to avoid last year’s holiday party glitch in which 30 guests weren’t served and 60 ate in the hallway because so many showed without responding.

Come to my partyOne event planner reported that an additional 33 people appeared at a wedding to which the caterer expected 456. The staff ripped into bolts of fabric to fashion last minute tablecloths and scrounged for chairs to accommodate the guests.

Committment issues are to blame say some manners pundits. Being invited to too many events was responsible for silence according to others. Take children’s birthday parties. Parents are urged to invite the whole class so none of the children feel left out which means a parent with two young kids might be faced with 88 RSVPs if each child attends a school with 45 in each class. [While a great concept, in practice it has flaws: Can every parent afford to host and feed 45 kids and to buy 44 gifts? There must be a better way, but I digress.]

Hosts are told to follow up with guests many times even after they’ve said they are coming. I am annoyed writing this tip. Doesn’t the guest have a calendar and/or memory?

Stack of invitations 1Some respondents are so dumb they return a printed RSVP card without noting their name. For this reason hosts are told to number the cards lightly, in pencil, to match the number with a guest on the invitation list.

There should be a master list of people who chronically show up unannounced or don’t show up when they say they will so that they are omitted from invitation lists forever.

Why is it up to the host to do all the work? Doesn’t the invitee have any obligations? Short of never entertaining, do you have other suggestions to help reverse this breach of etiquette? Are you a chronic delinquent responder?

stack of invitations 2

 

Get This Blog Emailed to You:
Enter your Email


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Clicky Web Analytics