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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

Orange-Oregano Crusted Lamb Rack with Horseradish Sauce Taste Test

Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!

This was such a beautiful dish to both create and consume. The gaminess of the lamb contrasted the tang of the horseradish and the freshness of the broccolini to create a delicate and enjoyable bite. This is not the type of meal you would want to rush through to move on to the next thing. This is a sit-down, enjoy your wine and good conversation type of dish. The Bourdeaux was a perfect balance to the richness of the lamb, hints of plum, and the slight dryness of the drink provided a wonderful compliment to counter the overall weight of the dish.

Since the meat has to marinate for an hour, I took this time to prepare the Patatas Bravas and Crab and Mango Salad for the whole tapas spread.

Orange-Oregano Crusted Lamb Rack with Ho
Download • 2.40MB

Makes 4 servings

Preparation Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 10 Minutes


*1 pound lamb rack, French trimmed (French trimmed means with the rack bones cleaned and exposed. Ask your butcher and they will direct you to pre-Frenched lamb or they will “French” it for you on-site.)

*1 cup chopped fresh parsley and oregano

*1/2 cup fresh orange zest

*1 cup olive oil

*Salt and black pepper, to taste

*4 ounces steamed broccolini, for garnish

Ingredients for Horseradish Sauce:

*1/4 cup plain yogurt

*1/4 cup sour cream

*2 tablespoons store-bought horseradish

*Salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation for the Horseradish Sauce:

*Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix by whisking until well combined.

*Place in refrigerator and reserve until needed.

Preparation for the Lamb:

*In a large bowl mix together the chopped parsley, oregano, orange zest and olive oil.

*Add the whole lamb rack and massage the mixture onto the rack for 10 seconds.

*Cover with plastic film and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

*Place a sautee pan on stove on medium heat.

*Take lamb out of refrigerator and season to taste.

*Pour 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan and place lamb rack in it.

*Cook the lamb for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. (I cooked mine for about a minute and a half longer as my lamb roast was rather thick.)

*Take off the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.

*Cut the lamb rack into individual chops and serve one chop on a plate.

*Garnish with steamed broccolini and a tablespoon of the horseradish sauce.

This dish was featured along with two others in a Tapas spread. For the full experience be sure to try the others!

Crab and Mango Salad

Patatas Bravas

Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib