entertaining in the age of social distancing

the virtual gathering
Categories: Soups, Dinner for Two, Supper, Well Equipped, Fête Fact, Posted on March 28, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
It’s a little surreal writing an entertaining blog when we’re being asked to “shelter in”. Three weeks ago I felt like I needed to make food I could bunker in with. I busied myself with filling my freezer and frig. But then as life’s milestones continued… my firstborn’s 30th birthday, my baby’s engagement, and the pending arrival of our third
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a fast break

hostess with the mostest hotel
Categories: Grains and Pasta, Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Eggs, Breakfast/Brunch, Fête Fact, Posted on February 18, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
The best part of having a vacation home is that people come to stay with you. One of the challenges is figuring out how to feed all of those vacationers in a way that doesn’t make you feel like hotel staff. Three meals a day for three days or more is a tall order. Breakfast for a crowd is my Achilles heel. It doesn’t matter how early I wake up
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defining your wheelhouse

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on February 1, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Entertaining is a lot like baseball. To maximize success, you need to figure out how to consistently hit the ball out of the park. That means knowing exactly where in the strike zone you should position yourself. The takeaway here is to realize that your personal sweet spot might not be the same as someone else’s. It’s important to figure out what
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maximize what you do best

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on January 20, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
In entertaining (and in life) certain principles hold true. For example, we should all strive to acknowledge our unique strengths and realize our own limitations. Maximizing what you do best and outsourcing where you fall short will help you succeed wherever you set your mind. Here that means entertaining others in a way that is actually enjoyable.
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put yourself in the equation

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Fête Fact, Posted on January 6, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
How apropos that the start of the new year and decade is 2020. Perhaps all of our resolutions should take a fresh look at things. While some of you might already have long or short lists, I’ll offer up one little challenge- what if in the coming year you pledge to meaningfully connect at your dining room table. Here’s the catch- do it in a way that
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the spread before the spread

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on December 3, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Here’s a holiday quandary- when the pressure is on to put on a lavish holiday meal what can you serve beforehand that will simultaneously delight your guests and not push you over the edge? Disclaimer Thanksgiving dinner is not one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I adore having my house and table brimming with family and friends. It’s just al
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gem of a weekend

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Eating Out, Fête Fact, Posted on November 18, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Two weeks ago, the stars aligned, and my college roommates and I finally got together for the first time in over seven years. Upon seeing each other it was if the last thirty-eight years literally melted away. What a tonic for each of our souls. We laughed, we reminisced, we held one another, and of course we ate (disclaimer: there was also a litt
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the date that got away

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on November 5, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
it’s one thing to misplace your reading glasses, completely another to space on the fact that you’re hosting a party. That happened to me last week. Months ago, my daughter at Northwestern business school thought it would be fun to invite some of her classmates over for a cocktail party. At the time I thought so too. Then life happened.
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put yourself at the table

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Desserts, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on September 21, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Isn’t it fun going to those upscale gourmet grocers and walking past their cases filled with amazing prepared fare? While tempting, picking up an entire dinner party that way can cost a small fortune. So, what should you do when you want the convenience of having everything made well in advance but you either want to showcase your own cooking and
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hot summer daze

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Soups, Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on July 22, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Baby it’s hot outside.  Our prewar apartment on Lake Michigan has so much charm, but no central air or personal outdoor space. We do have a few strategically placed portable air conditioner units, but with endless days in the in high 90’s it’s a little warm inside. So, what’s a girl to do when she planned a party a month ago? Time to put her menu
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