Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Dinner Parties


Dave Hatfield
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hopefully this is the right forum for this question.

My wife and I have a long standing disagreement on this. This being how many people make up the 'ideal' number for a dinner party?

My wife is of the opinion that the more the merrier so given her druthers she would invite anywhere from 10 to 15 (including us) as that's as many as we can seat normally. (on special occasions like Thanksgiving we can seat up to about 20, but that stretches things to their limit short of outdoor eating.)

I'm of the opinion that no more than 8 is the ideal number. This number makes the cooking easier and, very importantly, makes for good table conversation.

I'd like to hear what everyone else thinks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like eight. Plenty of folks for good conversation. Most important, eight is enough for people to have smaller side conversations.

And, it's two tables of bridge - in case you want to play cards after dinner.

Something we often do.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8. we have service for 8.

We only have 6 chairs, so if you're coming over .. bring something to sit on!

:)

Peter: You're a spy

Harry: I'm not a spy, I'm a shepherd

Peter: Ah! You're a shepherd's pie!

- The Goons

live well, laugh often, love much

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have service for 20, and I dread the thought of that ever happening.

I believe we're settling on 8. In a modern setting, that devolves to three on each side, and the host (and hostess or whatever) holding the heads of the table.

What we do is switch positions partway through the meal, allowing our guest equal access to us (who are generally off in the kitchen half the time) and each other.

That works for us.

I find that, when the crowd gets larger, I dont' get their company, and they don't get mine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We can comfortably do six at our table, but we've been thinking it's time to get something expandable. Eight sounds about right. At an apartment we rented for a year that was partially furnished there was a very large expanding table, but we still tended to have six for dinner parties.

More than that, I think one needs to have more time for everyone to get to talk to everyone else--like the kind of thing where people come over in the afternoon and stay for dinner, or a big family gathering where everyone pretty much knows everyone else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My immediate family (parents, siblings + spouses + offspring, our kids + spouses) numbers 18-20. We frequently have lunch out, at a single table. IT'S TOO MANY!

For a dinner party, I much prefer 8 total guests. That way, while I am occupied with last-minute dinner tasks, the others can chat amongst themselves.

Karen Dar Woon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ideally 8-9, because that's what my round table holds. I love a round table -- it's ideal for entertaining. No one is too far from anyone else. Oh, and the table has a built in lazy susan, so passing is well, just a slight twist of the lazy susan.

I've done as many as 35 for sitdown for a holiday dinner (just a month after we moved here!), so not all of the folks could sit around the Big Table at one time, so at dessert time, we did musical chairs.

Now that the kids are older, they're happy to sit off on their own, so it's adults at one table, kids at a couple of others, and then we play musical chairs for dessert so the kids and adults can mingle more.

I did a really cool thing for my mom's 70th birthday. She wanted more people than I could host, so we had two luncheons, each for 8 (actually 7 guests plus mom at each of them). I served and cooked. It was wonderful because she could spend more time with her friends, rather than fracturing herself into talking to more folks than possible.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like six. More than that and you have to contrive ways that everyone can talk to everyone else. With six, you can (barely) all follow one conversation, or you can split up into two or three smaller ones. I like bigger groups, but find that sit-down dinners aren't the best way to handle them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it's not really proper, but I kind of like odd numbered groups - 7, 11 and even unlucky 13. I think when you're not in groups of couples, you get a bigger, across-the-table conversation going. Plus, I'm single, and I don't want to have to worry about finding a date and encouraging my other single friends (both male and female) to find dates just so I can set the table boy-girl-boy-girl.

"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." - Frederico Fellini

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For a normal dinner party, I agree 6-8 keeps it intimate. I occasionally bring it up to 10 or 11, but I can't fit more without turning my table around....until I get a formal dinging room

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”

W.C. Fields

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know it's not really proper, but I kind of like odd numbered groups - 7, 11 and even unlucky 13. I think when you're not in groups of couples, you get a bigger, across-the-table conversation going. Plus, I'm single, and I don't want to have to worry about finding a date and encouraging my other single friends (both male and female) to find dates just so I can set the table boy-girl-boy-girl.

I've found that if I split up the couples, the conversation is MUCH livelier. So that's what I always do. It's really kind of amazing. Even at a small table. With couples, there's always one person that's more verbal and dominate, and the other tends to defer to that one. Split them up and everybody starts talking.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...