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The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Alina Gersib

Blueberry Plum Galette

If you are looking for an easy dessert recipe that doesn't take too long to throw together and is very forgiving, a galette could be your perfect dish! The term "galette" is French in origin and means a flat round cake. These cakes can be made with an assortment of fillings both savory and sweet. When cooking as a dessert, this dish is easy to customize depending on what fruit you have on hand. Berries, stone fruit - like peaches and nectaries, and pears all make a great sweet filling.

It's never fun to start a recipe and realize you are missing an ingredient. If you only have salted butter on hand as you begin this recipe, do not worry, a simple rule of thumb is 1 stick of salted butter = 1/4 teaspoon of salt. So for this recipe instead of adding 1/2 teaspoon of salt, use a stick of salted butter and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

I find myself coming back to this recipe frequently and changing the filling up to fit what fruits are freshest in the current season. When I saw plums at my local co-op I grabbed a few with this pastry in mind. Work with the fruits that are available to you locally and if possible shop at a farmers market or co-op for extra fresh ingredients that will make the flavors in this galette pop even more!

Blueberry Plum Galette
Download PDF • 907KB

Makes 10 servings

Preparation Time: 25 minutes (plus a minimum of 1 hour to chill dough)

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for dough:

*1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

*1/2 cup pecans

*2 teaspoons sugar

*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (Or 1/4 teaspoon if using salted butter)

*1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

*4 tablespoons of ice water

Ingredients for filling:

*2 plums, sliced

*2 cups fresh blueberries

*1 3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

*1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons cornstarch

*1/4 cup sugar, plus a bit more for sprinkling

*1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preparation of dough:

*Preheat oven to 350F. Place pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant. For about 5-10 minutes, tossing once half way through. Let cool.

*Add pecans to food processor and pulse until they are the consistency of a course meal.

*Add in the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until just combined.

*Place butter in processor and pulse until the mixture looks like a coarse mix with a few tiny pieces.

*Move dough to a large bowl.

*Drizzle 4 tablespoons of ice water over the dough and mix until it first starts to stick together. Add a bit more water slowly if needed.

*Pat the dough into a round disc and cover in plastic. Let chill for a minimum of 1 hour. Dough will keep in fridge for 2 days.

Preparation of pastry:

*Preheat oven to 375F.

*Place blueberries, plum slices, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl, toss to coat evenly.

*Roll out the dough to a 12" round on a lightly floured surface.

*Transfer dough carefully to a parchment (or silicon protector) lined baking sheet.

*Fill the center of the dough with the plum slices and berries, leaving a 2" boarder of crust.

*Fold the boarder up over the fruit. Brush the dough with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

*Bake the galette for about 45 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the crust is a nice dark golden brown.

*Allow to cool before serving and enjoy!

Recipe Creator - Alina Gersib