Southerners love to entertain, and the supper club is an old institution that continues to thrive and evolve. It might be a group of girlfriends that has been meeting together since their college days, a group of young parents who enjoy a night together sans children, or a group of friends drawn together over a shared love of cooking. As much fun as it is to get together, there is a level of anxiety when it is your turn to host. Follow these 4 easy steps that will help you reduce the stress, relax, and have fun. After all, the idea of a supper club is to enjoy good food, good drink, and good company, right?
The House Cocktail and Apps
Break the ice and welcome your guests with a signature cocktail, then let them munch on some tasty appetizers and chat with other guests while you put the finishing touches on the meal. Once supper starts, switch to wine and keep it flowing - conversations will come easy.
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The Main Dish
Save the elaborate buffets and themed dinners with fussy decorations for another time. Today’s entertaining style is more simple and relaxed, focusing on a one-pot main dish, such as red beans and rice, seafood stew, or jambalaya. One-pot meals are bountiful enough to serve a crowd and still handle unexpected guests. You only need one side and some fresh bread, and your supper menu is complete.
Easy-Does-It Table Setting
In keeping with the relaxed entertaining vibe, keep the heirloom china in the closet and start with basic white plates – but don’t worry, it won’t be boring. Use a nice mix of metal chargers or textured placemats, made of rattan or bamboo, underneath the white dinner plates. Then fill in with bowls, saucers, etc., of a vibrant color or pattern. Inexpensive linen kitchen towels make generous-sized napkins. Avoid the tall centerpieces that prohibit guests from seeing across the table at each other. Pick up some nice flowers from the grocery store (do these a couple of days ahead of the event so the flowers have time to fully open) and put two to three blooms in small glass bottles. Place the bottles down the center of the table and, if you have enough, place a bottle of flowers at each place setting. Use clear goblets for drinks, add some candles and/or votives down the center of the table, and you are all set.
You don’t want to miss any of the fun and fellowship by spending time in the kitchen fussing over a tricky dessert. Choose a dessert that can be made a day or two ahead of schedule, such as this Mocha Chocolate Mousse. If everyone is having a good time at the table and conversation is flowing, there is not need to break the mood; simply serve dessert there. If guests seem restless and conversation is lagging, move the party to another room for drinks and dessert.