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Do I need to cook to be considered a good host?

Contrary to popular belief, just because you're entertaining at home doesn't mean you're under any obligation to cook. Ordering and setting the table is perfectly okay and practical.

Hosting a dinner party is much work; take it from someone who used to always plan intricate meals, from the appetizers to the starters to the soup, salad, and entrees that all had to be perfectly complimented by all beverages. I discovered I could give myself a break when I visited a friend's home who was always throwing the most elaborate dinner parties. I pulled her over to the corner and asked her, "Meagan, you are a successful attorney, wife, and mom of four; how do you entertain regularly and make it look so easy? She confessed in a hushed tone, and I don't cook anything; I order it all and focus on the wine, the tablescape, and the music. That was all I needed to hear to give myself a much-needed break from my meticulous planning and hours over a hot stove to entertain family and friends at home.

If you believe cooking all day and night is required to host a beautiful dinner party, let me disabuse you of the stress. Ordering in is perfectly okay; no one should make you feel bad about it. Not only is it practical, but it allows you to spend additional time making your guests feel welcome, and it also allows you to plate all items ahead of time or have your guest's selves serve for even more free time to do what matters most, engage in rich conversation and bask in quality time with family and friends.


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