Dinner parties on the wane as The Good Life disappears

One of the main reasons that people from all walks of life entertain the idea of cookery courses is purely and simply because, after one Stella or glass of Chardonnay too many, they have publicly announced at a social gathering – “Come around to ours – we’ll knock up a four-course gourmet meal for ten, no problem.”

In the sober light of day, when one of the two of you remembers the self-laid gauntlet you accepted, you think you’d better start to learn how to cook for such a feast. But a recent survey suggests that, despite your good intentions, you may just be better off booking a table for ten at your local Indian restaurant and picking up the tab yourself.

A recent article on the Great British Chefs blog suggests that the home-hosted dinner party is becoming a thing of the past. Without the benefit of a cookery class or two to deliver the culinary know-how, the time and effort that goes into cooking for so many when you’ve not got the experience soon descends into an ill-tempered chore – and that’s without looking at the supermarket bill for the tab of ingredients, alcohol inclusive or not.

Two thousands UK adults were polled by the bespoke cooking ingredients company VeryLazy about their attitudes towards hosting dinner parties. Surprisingly, only a third said that they enjoyed the experience with 25% categorically stating they avoided them altogether due to the emotional stress that’s attached to the once-popular social activity. If you’ve ever watched The Good Life, your heart would often go out to Margot after Jerry invited “Sir” and a whole host of international clients around for such an event at the drop of a hat. It seems that little has changed as Penelope Keith’s character would go into instant meltdown at just considering the menu, ingredients and, obviously, the state of Tom and Barbara’s back yard.

Whereas money was not often the case for the Leadbetters, the survey by VeryLazy intimates that the tough financial times have put the collybosh on self-hosted dinner parties to some extent. Another reason cited by Rob Cottam, the brand’s head development chef, is that we’re all so hyper-connected these days, finding the hours to set aside to source, prepare and cook the ingredients that go into dinner parties is not so easy as every spare minute is a premium to look at other more pressing aspects of our day-to-day lives.

He summed it up succinctly, saying that dinner parties are indeed a brilliant excuse to devote time to those things most important to us – friends, family and food. If you find yourself in a pickle and have promised to lay on a gastronomic fayre fit for royalty, but are unsure of how to go about it, why not check out our cookery courses to see if they can at least take the headache of sorting the menu out, even suggest the beer and wine to go with.

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