Most of the time I like to have friends over for a visit.
But I can’t cook. Most of my friends are food snobs. I am just not interested in cooking. There was never any necessarity to do so. My former boyfriends and now my husband always knew how to cook very well. So I just don´t have to engage in it. And since my friends are really nice they always will show up with a bottle of wine or even they start cooking in my house.
What to bring?
Normally, as soon as I send the invitation, one of my guests will mail back: “What can I bring?” I never reject this offer, it is very comfortable to know that I have not to do the whole thing by myself. But on the other hand I am always asking too what I can bring. So I tell my friends: “Thank you! I accept your offer, please bring dessert.” It’s one less thing for me to coordinate and normally my guests are thrilled to contribute. And if I have a specific request (for example ice cream!) I request it. Because: We are all kids at heart who just want someone to tell us what to do. It also means for me when it’s time to wrap up the last few details of the meal, I do not have to abandon my cocktail-sipping guests for more than a few minutes.
I have no interest in muddling or doing math at cocktail hour. My husband loves it. He always creates special drinks. I am more or less a purist in my house, preferring to serve my guests the same drinks that were probably served by my grandparents. A Gin and Tonic. A Hugo. An Aperol Sprizz. That´s it. All of these are simple to assemble, and, most important, are quintessentially summer.
In the summer, fruit is always a beautiful centerpiece. I like it when it’s a lot of one thing, like apricots or peaches. Just in a modern white bowl. Or just in a row down the middle of the table. I also do like table runners, versus tablecloths. Somehow they feel proper without being too formal.
Starting Small Talk
Fall-back conversation for grown-ups like us: Travel. Especially in the summer. Have you been anywhere? Are you going anywhere? With these topics nothing will go wrong.
Last but not least
I always start the evening with an empty dishwasher and sink. My post-party self will thank me, no, it will love me.
Do you have some special rituals for inviting your friends over?