Keeping A Dinner Party Journal

There are a lot of good reasons to do this, but I'll give you two: pragmatic assurance that you're not feeding the same guests the same meals over and over (and feeding asparagus to the asparagus-hater) and you get an amazing history of your social and culinary life in short-hand.

After my father died, I went through his extensive collection of cookbooks and found his dinner party journal. It spanned about 6 years and each page had the date, the guests (with notes about their eating habits), the menu he made that night, where he got the recipes (if applicable) and how each dish turned out, if it wasn't a stand-by. It is a treasure to me. And I could see that he was making sure that his frequent guests always got new things (and a few of their favorites) and making sure he weeded out mistakes that he should never make again.

I started keeping one after that and it's amazing how much it brings back to me when I look at it! It also prevented me from serving the same appetizers to folks and helped me remember who hates olives, etc. It also reminded me of friends I had only briefly before they finished degrees and left town or turned out to be beasts and were rejected utterly. The entries also reminded me of some wonderufl nights with friends, and also some sad times I had tried to forget.

Just get a little notebook (or a fancy journal f you crave one!) and keep it with your cookbooks. It's great when you have a year of records and are planning holiday meals. My favorite is to look at Thanksgivings - every year I change the menu a bit, but keep making the same amazing turkey stock.

I highly recommend this project!




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