My family hosts a dinner party every Monday night. We call it the Monday Night Dinner Party. It started because we wanted to have my husband’s brother over for a family dinner on a regular basis. Monday seemed like a good night to do it—there’s not much happening on Monday nights, it seems. Soon, we started inviting neighbors, old friends we hadn’t seen in a while, and new friends we wanted to get to know to come as well.
The thing I love about the practice of the Monday Night Dinner Party is that we have a built-in rhythm of connecting with people over food. In a world in which everyone is busy all the time, we have carved out a space and time every week when we know we will gather around our very large table and linger over good food (usually), good wine (often), and great conversation (always!).
When we became parents, this practice became even more precious to me. It was one night a week when I knew I would get to enjoy time with grown ups. Our Monday night bedtime routine is more relaxed. Sometimes, the kids get to watch a movie after they are in their jammies, just so we adults can enjoy sitting around the table talking with one another. Other times, our guests get involved with the bedtime routine, reading books aloud with the kids.
It takes a village to raise a family. And the Monday Night Dinner Party has given our “village” a more intimate opportunity to be part of our children’s lives. It’s been amazing to watch our kids settle in to the rhythm of weekly dinner parties. They now help set the table, engage guests in conversation, and learn by example what hospitality can look like.
Ever since I was in my 20’s, when I was single and living in Richmond, VA, and then New York City, I have loved having people over. Thankfully, my cooking has evolved a lot over the years. No longer is spaghetti my go-to meal. I have collected a number of fairly simple, healthy and delicious recipes that are reliable hits with guests. I love setting a table, creating a simple tablescape, and making meal plans and prep. It’s challenging at times, with three children (sometimes more) vying for my attention while I’m trying to get the meal ready. But that has forced a kind of culinary creativity and preparation that has given me some creative satisfaction.
In coming posts, I will share recipes, hosting tips, and dinner party insights. My ultimate hope is that you might be inspired to start hosting your own regular dinner parties. The world needs more of those.