February 8, 2016, by Emily Howard
The Student Dinner Party (is the best kind of dinner party)
When living with over-30s, dinner parties are often a melodramatic affair involving stuffing all mess out of sight, pretending to be an accomplished chef and acting generally grown-up and suave. The student dinner party, however, is a completely different ball-game. Embrace the clutter, don the apron without expectation, and enjoy an evening of unashamed eating and (im)maturity.
Although you’re probably still recovering from the attempted “house Christmas dinner”, hosting a dinner party with friends is cheaper, and far more fun, than going out to a restaurant or ordering take-away. There are no unwritten rules: wear what you want, eat what you want, forget table manners, airs and graces! Dinner parties involving double-carbs and ketchup are acceptable; eating sausages and mash from a jug due to crockery shortage is an everyday occurrence; and drinking wine from a mug doesn’t get a second glance. Jelly and icecream? Go for it.
Having a theme is a great way to make an evening out of it. Decide on a theme, and everybody can bring-and-share or buy ingredients in one and split the cost. Flat-fajita-night was popular in first year (cue sombreros, tacos and tequila), making homemade pizza is always fun and cost-effective, and giant pasta bakes with garlic bread is an easy one for mid-week meet-ups.
In our house, Chinese New Year is always a celebration – and what better way to celebrate than treating your tastebuds with your mates?! This year we’re rustling up spring rolls and dumplings, plus duck pancakes with hoisin sauce, of course. Pancake day also approaches, and there’s no better party than a pancake party (just watch the ceiling)! If you’re out of inspiration, Impact have a few suggestions, and want to see your ideas too – so get instagramming with the hashtag #whatsyourpancake!
Let’s not forget, comfort food is called comfort food for a reason: treating your tummy is important for mental health, too. Instead of living on meal deals, instant noodles and toast, sitting down to a proper home-cooked meal is nourishing for mind as well as body. If you haven’t done it already, grab the recipe book and some friends and cook up a feast. No pressure; just fun, food and a less fragile bank balance!