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Saturday 10 June 2023 Dublin: 12°C
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7 tips for hosting the perfect family dinner
You’ll fear the Sunday roast no more.

IF THE THOUGHT of cooking dinner for more than yourself (and maybe one other lucky person), gives you the Absolute Fear, worry not.

Help is at hand.

Whether it’s your first time hosting a family dinner, or just something you want to be a little better at, we’ve rounded up seven helpful tips to help that dinner go more smoothly.

We’re not talking about anything super fancy here – you don’t have to bring out the good china, don’t worry. But there’s lots you can do to enable the dinner, the cooking, and the day go brilliantly.

So, let’s get started, shall we?

1. Prep and plan

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Depending on how many people are coming you’re going to have to do some calculating before you go grocery shopping.

Not only that, but it’s good to work out a plan for what needs to go into the oven and when. So, if you know your chicken is going to take 2 hours, but your potatoes only an hour, but you need to start peeling them 30 mins before you put them in… See how it can get complicated?

So, work it out – or if you have a chance at all, doing a trial run (if it’s a particularly important dinner) could be well worth the effort.

2. Now – to the shops

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But before you do, make sure you double and triple check that you’ve made a list that includes all the ingredients you need. It’s so easy to think you have something, and find you’re out mid-way through cooking – or even to not read the recipe properly and realise that you’re missing a key ingredient.

Make a list. Check it twice – Santa Claus-style.

3. Brush up on your knife  skills

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Now, we’ve given you a relatively in-depth tutorial in knife basics right here, so you’ve no excuse not to be a dab hand with the chopping. Practice is essential, as is keeping those fingertips out of the way.

Again, give yourself plenty of time to do any chopping, dicing and slicing. Accidents have no place in this kitchen.

No place.

4. Ready, set, cook

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Here is when your formidable planning and organisation skills come into play.

Whatever recipe you’ve planned to perfection, now is the time to implement that strategy military-style.

Because once you have everything in the oven, or simmering away gently you can start to relax a little.

5. Chill for a minute… but not too long

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Take a deep breath – you’ve most of the hard work out of the way. Congrats.

Sit for a minute, put your feet up. Appreciate the work you’ve done.

But don’t get carried away – there’s still more to do.

Now is the time to get dressed, put the final touches on your outfit, and then straight back to work. It’s about time to set the table, check everything’s progressing as planned – taste, salt, and baste as necessary.

Now’s also a good time to get as much of the clean up out of the way so you’re not faced with a ridiculous amount of washing up after dinner, when all you want to do is faceplant the couch.

6. Wine uncorking

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Now is the time to crack open that bottle of wine to ‘let it breathe’. Or you know, to sample it and make sure it’s ok. Just the one glass though, you still have responsibilities in the kitchen.

Would be a shame for all your hard work to go up in smoke this close to the finish.

7. Enjoy

Shutterstock / Mint Images RF Shutterstock / Mint Images RF / Mint Images RF

The most important part of the meal is not actually the food (now we tell you), it’s the sharing the food with your invited guests. So try not to freak out if everything doesn’t go to plan – at the end of the day, that won’t really matter.

What will matter is that you handled any issues with grace, you sat down with your guests, and ate, and laughed.

Everything else will be forgotten. We promise.

Have we inspired you to throw a dinner party soon? Have we missed any crucial tips? Let us know in the comments below.

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