Why 'Crappy Dinner Parties' Are The Only Parties People Host Anymore

Photo: WeHeartIt 
crappy dinner party

Fake cheese for everyone!

I love entertaining, but let's be real, between work and working out and all of the TV shows that are so important to me, it can be difficult to find the time. 

I miss having people over! I miss connecting with my friends over a shared meal. That's what friendship is all about! But I don't miss waking up at 7am on a Saturday to start preparing for a dinner party I won't get to enjoy because of all the stress that comes with being a hostess.


It turns out, there's a happy medium. 

Kelly Powell over at the Kitchn recently shared the way she's maintained her friendships after having kids made it difficult for them to all hang out. 

They started having "crappy dinner parties" where the emphasis wasn't on stressing yourself out and driving yourself nuts trying to pull together an epic dinner party in your perfect home, it was about spontaneously celebrating your friendships and not worrying about stuff like making a trip to Whole Foods for bespoke beets and getting up three hours early to deep clean your entire home. 

The rules for the crappy dinner party are simple. 

  1. No housework is to be done prior to a guest's arrival.
  2. The menu must be simple and not involve a special grocery shop.
  3. You must wear whatever you happen to have on.
  4. No hostess gifts allowed.
  5. You must act like you're surprised when your friend and her family just happen to show up at your door (optional). 

I may not have kids yet, but a few of my closest friends do. We've been pretty good at keeping in touch, but I can feel those friendships slipping. I know I've got to do something to step up my game, and I feel like crappy dinner parties might be it.

I do, of course, have a few slight reservations.

For Kelly Powell, a professional food writer and presumably accomplished cook and mother, not going to the grocery store is probably a lot easier is than it is for me. She's probably got tubs of stock frozen in her freezer and the perfect ingredients for a balanced meal in her fridge.

Me, I usually subsist on white cheddar Cheez-Its and take out. Offering my leftovers and cracker crumbs to guests takes it beyond crappy and well into shitty. Especially on the days I'm running low on Cheez-Its. Then it really will be every man for himself. 

The same goes for housekeeping. For Kelly, it sounds like she's mostly just got adorable children's art projects under feet. If I don't clean up before guests come over, there is probably an 80% likelihood that someone will step in cat shit and or vomit. That's just how I roll. 


All my teasing aside, I love the idea of making it easier for your friends to come over. Subtracting the formality puts the emphasis where it should be: on connecting with the people in your life who mean so much to you without adding to your stress levels.