Starting a Dinner Party Journal

Liveblogging The Kitchn Cure Fall 2013

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Day 10 Task: Plan a dinner party

My experience doing The Kitchn Cure can be summed up this way: it made me finally do the things I've been wanting to do in my kitchen. Sometimes you just need a good kick in the pants to get going, you know? — something that stops the excuses and procrastinating and helps you get your ideas or plans off the ground.

I've thrown a dinner party in a small apartment before, and I've even had friends over to my current place despite its we're-still-moving-in disheveled-ness. But there's one thing I've wanted to do, and it's so small I don't know why I haven't done it yet: start a dinner party journal.

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I have a poor memory. I know this because I often try to remember big events in my life — birthdays, anniversaries, holiday gatherings — that I know I thoroughly enjoyed at the time, but I find the details are now very fuzzy. I know some people complain that our insta-share society with its Instagramming and tweeting and FB'ing robs us of fully experiencing a moment, but I've always taken the view that it helps us remember ordinary moments that would otherwise be forgotten. And I for one, with my terrible memory, appreciate it for that reason.

Not to say that's the only way to remember something, of course — people have been writing in diaries (actual paper diaries!) for centuries, all to help them encapsulate a day, a dream, an experience. I was an avid journaler when I was in middle school, but lost the habit in high school. Over the years I've tried to pick it up again, but with little success. (I'm not giving up, though! Guess what my 2014 New Year's resolution is likely to be?)

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So what does all this have to do with planning a dinner party? Well, I'd like to start a dinner party journal — or, maybe just a "gatherings" journal, for any and all get-togethers at my house where something home-cooked is served. I'd like to remember who was here, what I cooked, what we drank, maybe even a few things we talked about. It doesn't have to be fancy; just a simple record that will help jog my memory in months and years to come. Did we really go through three bottles of wine that night while I sang 90s one-hit wonders? (See top photo. While not a dinner I hosted, the flowing wine and 90s songs actually happened with good friends Gregory, Emily, Faith and her husband Mike in attendance.) And oh right — I remember the time I made slow-cooker carnitas and served it with these miso-maple sweet potato tacos, which was an odd pairing but somehow worked.

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So, when I invite friends to come over in a couple weeks for a cozy fall meal; when I put tea lights on the table, play a little music, and we all have a splendid time; when I think that it really was such a fun night — a night to remember — and then I forget about the details months later... that's when I'll go back to my dinner party journal and be so happy that I decided to write it all down.

Do you keep a dinner party journal? Thinking of starting one with this party?

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(Images: 1. Emily Ho; 2. Cambria Bold; 2. Megan Gordon)

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