Do you ever wonder what your dinner guests say about you when they walk out your door? Do they marvel at your hosting abilities and wonder when they’ll get invited back? Do they praise the food but slag the company? Do they praise the company but slag the food? Do they judge your glassware? Do they climb into their car, sit for a second in the darkness, and say, Never again? That depends on what kind of entertainer you are. Take this quiz to find out… — Jenny and Andy
Your friends are coming over for dinner and you’ve made a (pretty tasting looking, if you don’t say so yourself) frittata with feta cheese, leeks, and baby asparagus. When your the guests arrive, the husband tells you he doesn’t eat feta. He’s not allergic, he just has a “thing” about it. In response, you:
a) Apologize profusely and, in a show of solidarity, toss the frittata into the garbage and start over using some good cheddar.
b) Wag your finger and say, “I guess Mr. Picky over here won’t be getting any dessert tonight!”
c) Roll your eyes, sigh audibly, and say, “Oh god, let me guess: you’re an only child?”
d) Say, “No problem! Which would you prefer: Honey Nut Cheerios or Peanut Butter and Jelly?”
e) Say: “No problem. I’ll just make you an omelet.” Think: “You are so incredibly dead to me.”
It’s 6:45 and your guests are due to arrive in 15 minutes. You hop on your computer to make a playlist, which consists of:
a) Whatever they play between those segments on that NPR show.
b) “Losing My Religion,” and the exact same thirty-seven songs you put on the mixed tape you made for your girlfriend in college.
c) Haim, Haim, and more Haim.
d) Whatever comes up when you type “cool dinner party playlists” into the Google machine.
e) I don’t have time to make a playlist – isn’t there a Bland White Guy Pandora station on here somewhere?
You would describe your approach to menu planning as:
a) Buy fresh ingredients, and prepare them simply.
b) Three words: Short Ribs, bros!
c) Ramen. Or whatever rapo4 is hashtagging on his instagram feed.
d) Food’s not as important as the company — and besides, have you tried Trader Joes pot pies? They’re actually pretty good.
e) If it can be grilled, then I shall grill it.
Your default conversation starter when the silence borders on awkward is:
a) Okay. Edward Snowden: good guy or bad guy?
b) So, how’s your kitchen renovation going? Wolf or Viking?
c) What year is your Passat?
d) Who’s watching House of Cards?
e) What’s it all about? Life, I mean.
Your guests are raving about the braised pork, a recipe your friend Cindy made for you a few weeks ago. You:
a) Say thank you.
b) Say thank you, and mention that you wished you had braised it a tiny bit longer because it was a little too watery and the pork wasn’t as tender or as flavorful as it was when Cindy made it. Which you’re really sorry about. Because it should have been a lot better.
c) Say thank you, but the real credit should go to the pig — Cathy, a Berkshire beauty, raised only on acorns and love — who made this meal possible.
d) Say thank you, but the truth is, this one was all Cindy. I’ll email you the recipe tomorrow.
e) Say thank you and take all the credit. (I mean, come on: Cindy probably stole it from Bon Appetit, anyway.)
Your philosophy on Humboldt Fog is:
a) It’s just not a dinner party without it.
b) Do I eat the gray stuff?
c) It’s fine,I guess, but isn’t it a little 2007?
d) What’s Humboldt Fog?
e) This stuff costs how much per pound?
Your friends have three kids, 2, 5 and 7. You invite them over for dinner and they respond “Yes, we’d love to, should we bring our kids?” You respond:
a) “Absolutely! Tell me, do they like duck confit?”
b) “Sure, that’d be great. We’ll have dinner a little early, then. Feed the kids some pizza at 6:00, then put Fantastic Mr. Fox on at about 6:25, then the grown-ups can eat Short Ribs, and give the kids popcorn, and after we clear our table, we can serve ice cream to the kids while they watch…”
c) “We can do it another night if you can’t get a babysitter. We just got a new couch.”
d) “Totally! They can do some finger painting at the kitchen table while I cook. And hey, bring your dog, too!”
e) “We have a really hard time dealing with children who aren’t our own.”
It’s 11:00, dessert has been served and every surface in the kitchen is covered in dirty dishes. You:
a) …wait, this can’t be my house. Those dirty dishes would’ve been cleared away — little by little, without making anyone feel bad — throughout the evening.
b) Yawn loudly, glance at your watch, and then ask your guests, “Do you think there will be a lot of traffic on your way home?”
c) This is why you hire people to clean up for you.
d) Go the basement and bring up that bottle of vintage Port someone gave you when you got married, and open it while actually uttering the sentence “Maybe the kids’ll sleep in tomorrow.”
e) Flip the light switch on and off in the kitchen. If that fails, begin weeping.
Mostly As: You are confident, urbane, hospitable, and most likely entertain two or three times a month. Guests like coming to your house — even if they feel the need to brush up on that unread stack of New Yorkers before they arrive.
Mostly Bs: You might as well have a Masters in Entertaining. You are precise, efficient — and borderline OCD. (There is a way to do something, and way not to.) In spite of the inevitable party-prep panicking, you usually find yourself twiddling your thumbs in the kitchen — dishwasher empty, apps already laid out, cocktail muscles twitching — waiting for the guests to arrive.
Mostly Cs: There’s a good chance you work in the food industry, or aspire to. For you, entertaining is a form of creative expression as much as it is a way to see your friends. You likely don’t have kids — because let’s face it, who has time to read Lucky Peach when there are diapers to be changed?
Mostly Ds: Fun-loving, spontaneous, non-fussy. An embracer of chaos. Guests often find themselves in the kitchen cooking with you. We love you and we’re coming over.
Mostly Es: Dude, why are you torturing yourself? Book a table for one, or go read in bed.