People seem to think that entertaining company is hard. I have a few words to say on that matter:
1. The important thing is that you welcome people into your life and into your heart. They don't really care what type of wine or food you serve. If they do and they judge you on such things, then find new people to hang out with.
2. People are looking for things to do and for nice people to hang out with. Having a fantastic social life with wonderful parties to attend every weekend only happens on Sex in the City.
3. If you open your home and your life to people, they will LIKE YOU! They may not always reciprocate the invitation, but who said we give in order to receive?
4. People do not notice how clean or dirty your house is. They are more interested in the books on your shelf and the pictures on your wall. They are probably nervous and self-conscious so your job is to make them feel wanted and welcomed in your home.
5. You don't actually have to cook to have a party! This is especially key if you want to have friends over on a Thursday night for cocktails. Here is what to do:
Go to WholeFoods or A Southern Season to buy three fabulous cheeses (a hard one, a soft one, and a blue one). If you like, try it by country. For example, I recently served threee Italian cheeses for a party: tallegio, gorgonzola, and pecorino. They are soft and stinky, blue, hard and sharp respectively. In additon to the cheeses, buy a pate and some soppraseta or other Italian salami. Put the cheeses on a plate with grapes and olives. Put salami and pate on a plate with cornichons pickles (these are baby pickles that taste really good w/ salami and pate). Also buy some smoked salmon. Put it on a plate and sprinkle w/ lemon juice, black pepper, and capers. Put out a basket of crackers (love the Carrs water crackers w/ cracked pepper) and thinly sliced baguette.
Buy a few bottles of Charles de Fere and some nice French red and you are done.
Put some flowers in a vase. Smile when people show up. Take their coats and hand bags to the guest room or hang up in your hall closet. Offer them their choice of beverage. Invite them to eat some food. Periodically ask people if they need more food or drink. And there you have it. A good party.
When people start to leave, help get their coats, walk them to the door, hugs and kisses for all, and wave when they get to their cars. Go back inside and see if your remaining guests need more food or drink.