Is the dinner party dead? Rules for modern entertaining

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The "dinner party" will soon be consigned to the history books, according to new research.


A new study into the nation's entertaining habits has revealed white napkins, starch tablecloths, bread rolls and prawn cocktails in the style of The Good Life's Margo and Jerry Leadbetter are simply a thing of the past.

According to a survey from Anglian Home Improvements, 84 percent of modern Brits think informal or causal kitchen suppers have replaced the stuffy dinner party of old.

The research also revealed a guide to modern day entertaining, for both guests and hosts alike including never serving a chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham, always serving olives from the local deli rather than a jar and making sure what you serve is seasonal.

Other rules of modern entertaining are NEVER serving anything on a cocktail stick, always having enough mixers and ice, and never talking TV, jobs or children.

However, politics, sex and death are subjects which should NOT be avoided at the modern day party, according to the 1,500 adults polled.

The survey also revealed that because we're ditching a 'dining room' culture, 65 percent are now more sociable than ever, having friends over on average three times a month.

In fact, Brits will host an average of 36 supper and lunch parties every year at their homes, splashing out just over GBP3,000 a year on food and booze for friends according to the poll.

But as 'casual' as we appear in our entertaining , Brits secretly still pull all the stops out to impress; with 62 percent admitting they tidy and clean the house from top to bottom before guests arrive, and 31 percent saying they agonise over choosing the right outfit.

A spokesperson for Anglian Home Improvements, which commissioned the report, said: "The results of our survey have proven times are changing in terms of how we entertain, however, while our home hangouts are becoming more informal, we still want to socialise in style.

"So many of us take great pride in welcoming guests to a beautifully presented home and garden; and what better way to spend long summer days than sharing the very best food and wine with friends and family."

On average, we spend GBP52 on food for our guests and a further GBP33 on alcohol with Saturday night emerging as the nation's favourite time to entertain for 54 percent of us, followed by Friday night (20 percent).

Unfortunately though, it's not all plain sailing, as almost half of Brits (44 percent) have been left less than impressed by their guests' behaviour - feeling their efforts have been unappreciated.

41 percent complained of guests drinking too much, while 26 percent have had to deal with a friend or family member starting an inappropriate conversation.

A further 22 percent have had a guest start an argument with a fellow diner, while 21 percent of hosts say a guest had the nerve to turn up with people they didn't know and hadn't invited.

DOS AND DON'TS FOR MODERN DAY GUESTS AND HOSTS

Never text at the table
Don't talk about TV, jobs or children
Ask whoever cooked for the recipe
Do talk about politics, sex and death
Make sure your olives are from the deli rather than a jar
Make sure what you serve is seasonal
Never serve anything on a cocktail stick
Never ask to stay the night
Always have enough mixers and ice
Never serve a chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham
Never snoop in other people's houses
Always bring flowers, but not from a garage
Don't get really drunk
Prep food in advance so you can spend time with your guests
Never talk about how much you earn
Never lick your knife
Never arrive more than half an hour early
Never arrive more than 15 minutes late
Always say the food is lovely, even it isn't
Don't leave coats strewn around the house
Take high heels/stilettoes off if your hosts have wooden floors
Never give "style advice" to your hosts
Don't boast about your own cooking prowess
Use your knife and fork correctly
Don't take over in the kitchen
Always send a thank you card rather than texting the following day
Make sure your lighting is right