I already posted this New York Times article, "Guess Who Isn't Coming to Dinner?" on my Facebook page, but I have a great deal more to say about the topic of the allegedly endangered dinner party. First and foremost -- it's not endangered. At least not in my apartment. Not my in current apartment or any other prior dwelling in which I've lived. I think in every dorm or apartment I've ever lived in that had a kitchen to cook in, I've hosted a dinner party of some sort.
I think part of the problem is that some people panic when they think about hosting a dinner party, thinking it needs to be a fancy, Martha Stewart-esque affair with multiple courses and intricate recipes. It doesn't. At all. Cook something simple -- ideally something you've cooked before -- and provide a comfortable atmosphere for your guests. If they offer to bring something, let them. Hell, tell them exactly what to bring: "Can you bring cheese and crackers? A dessert of some sort?" One less thing for you to prepare.
My favorite season for dinner parties is now -- the fall and winter. Ideally, when I have some outdoor space and a grill to call my own, this will change, but fall and winter allow for simple, comforting dishes that are good for a group: lasagna (a big dinner party winner), stews, hearty pastas, roasts, or anything in the slow cooker. On a freezing cold Sunday, what better to do than stay home, play some music, maybe open a bottle of wine and fill your home with tantalizing aromas. In a few hours, you're joined by a group of guests of your choosing, talk away the hours, eat and laugh heartily, and generally end up with leftovers. If you're lucky, one or more of your guests will offer to do the dishes. Let them.
I probably have someone over for dinner at least twice a month, and I should do it more often. Sounds like a good New Year's resolution in the making. Who's hungry?