Folks place too much importance on waiting until the weekend for get-togethers, says Ivy Entrekin, a personal chef in Portland. So midweek, Entrekin organizes “block dinners,” aka potlucks, with neighbors. Some contribute homegrown produce instead of cooking; others bring simple foods like freshly picked blackberries or chocolate bars. Four days is such a long stretch to wait for a friend’s meal, she says. “Having something to look forward to midweek gives me a little more momentum to push on through. It’s a necessary exhale that we sometimes forget to take.”
Mingle on work nights
It can be as simple as ordering a pizza and making a salad, but Entrekin has other tactics for pulling off a dinner party.
- Choose a theme: It’s fun and it gives people a starting point. With a “rainbow potluck,” everyone brings a dish in an assigned color; a chocolate-themed potluck relies on dishes both sweet (one-bowl brownies) and savory (three-bean chili with cocoa).
- Serve buffet-style: Those stuck in the commute can feel at ease if they arrive late.
- Share cleanup tasks: Have guests wash their own plates as they leave.
- Make your dish on Sunday or Monday before the party: Entrekin’s favorite do-ahead dessert: fruit crisp started in a slow-cooker in the morning and finished under the broiler to crisp the topping. Add scoops of ice cream.