Connecting over Dinner

Ginger Johnson, courtesy of Lauren Dahn

Meals

People

Food and Beverage

Gathering

Hosting

Dinner Parties

Connecting

All of these are related. They’re all tied to how we connect, human to human.

I was writing this morning about human connection, specifically what it means to connect over dinner. Even more specifically, at a dinner party.

The din of a dinner party has been part of my life as far back as I can remember anything. Gentle sounds of conversation, laughter, utensils on dishware, people having a good time, together.

I love those memories and have both experienced many dinner parties as a guest, as well as have hosted hundreds of them myself. In fact, my first dinner party as host was for my college roommates when we were Juniors. The menu is familiar (I’ve made it dozens of times), the guests meaningful, the event auspicious.

Like my mom will tell you, if you’d have told juvenile me I would have such a strong interest in food and cooking as an adult, I’d have wondered what you were talking about. I didn’t abhor the kitchen and cooking, though I certainly didn’t gravitate toward it.

Life would be significantly disconnected if I couldn’t host dinner parties. As I write this, we’re deep into the winter of 2020, soon to turn to 2021, and the pandemic is raging. And as strong as my desire is to invite and gather, treat, host and take care of people, there’s no way I’m going to host an in-person dinner party right now. That’d be tantamount to perpetuating the crisis. As much as I want to see people in person, as much as my quieter husband expressed the same last weekend, as impatient as I am…. my plan is to be part of the solution.

 

Am I stopping my hosting? Nope. No way.

The shift is to do so virtually. And it’s already a success.

Ginger Johnson, courtesy of Lauren Dahn

Stay connected with virtual dinner parties

Even with the screen-drenched world. Even with the dogged virus raging. With everything, this is EXACTLY what the world needs: to feel connected, by simply gathering as we can (thank you mind-boggling technology!).

 

If you’re viscerally missing hosting dinner parties as I am, host your own as I’m doing.

  1. Write a simple invite, with date and time. Send via email or call people on the phone or send a video message invite (those are super fun!).
  2. Generate a virtual meeting link, and send to those who RSVP’d affirmative. I do it in a group, about 24 hours out, after letting them know I’ve noted they can come.
  3. Let guests know they’re welcome to sip and sup as it works for them during your time together. We tell them we’ll be in our kitchen with them, just as we would be in (and when again) they’re in person with us.
  4. Host. Highlight, introduce, connect your guests. Have fun. We choose an unexpected question to ask, going around the room, to let everyone be sure to contribute. A go-to question for us is “what was your first paying job?”
  5. Set an ending time, even if it’s a general idea. People (hosts included) like to know what to expect when to show up and when they’ll be done. Thank them all for coming when you’re wrapped up.

 

Decide what size group works best for you virtually, just as you would in-person. Start there.

Whatever you do, keep hosting. Keep connecting. That’s what will get us through, better and together.

 

If I can help you with practices to do so, get in touch. Glad to help you get & stay connected.