Preparing for Tomorrow

I’ve mentioned my last giveaway on this blog quite a bit recently, in part because it’s on my mind a lot right now. See, my winners are coming over to eat, drink and be merry tomorrow, and I want to make sure it’s delicious and worthy of merriment.

I always stress a bit about hosting a dinner shindig, because I don’t do it often enough. Oh, I have a friend or two over for games and/or food all the time, but I rarely do a big, planned thing. Often, my friends come over on less than a day’s notice (sometimes less than an hour’s) and I feed them whatever Bill and I are eating that day and the house is in whatever state the house is in.

A dinner shindig, to me, is something bigger. It requires more thought and planning and care. It requires that the house be tidy, which means the two coolers next to me as I type this have to be put away. It means making sure there’s enough TP in the bathroom, rather than just betting there is. It requires prep work, which allows a lot of fun. Which is, most of all, the biggest requirement. Everyone has fun. Including the cook!


For a bit, I worried I wasn’t going to be able to cut the stress enough to have all the fun. Part of this was that I couldn’t figure out appetizers. I hate figuring out appetizers. They are the bane of my existence when it comes to menu planning. Probably because most of us don’t have appetizers then dinner. Appetizers are a thing.

The good news, though, is that I just figured them out. I know exactly what appetizers I’m serving, and they’re going to be easy. Even better? I’m trying a recipe out of a book I don’t think I’ve cooked out of before, which makes it doubly exciting.

Triply exciting? I figured out how to make them ahead. And main dish too. And dessert. Almost every recipe I’ve selected can be made ahead.

I think that’s the key to a shindig. Make-ahead food, or food that can be made in a slow-cooker. A slow-cooker certainly saved Bill and I when Ellen and Grant came over for a heavy-hitting conversation.

My house will still be messier than I’d like, but I think that’s because I (like almost every host) worry that it should look like a magazine spread. Instead, guests get to see right into my pantry, which is a bit disorganized.

And that’s okay. It makes the place look lived in. Loved. Welcoming.

Tomorrow’s going to be great. I’m going to have a blast, and I think our guests will too. Our menu is going to be incredibly tasty, our beers delicious, and our home welcoming.

Which, in the end, is what I want. A welcoming home with good food, whether I’m having over complete strangers for a shindig, or our good friend Meyer for a last-minute game of Zombie Dice or Munchkin. That’s what makes sure I have fun, and I think basically any host as well.

I think I have it for tomorrow. And I hope that you have it for the next shindig you host, be it tonight, tomorrow or sometime in the future.

Pile o' food.