The Great 8 Gathers…Our First Dinner Party!

Our First Dinner Party

Wow, 19 years ago this month we gathered for our first dinner party. We started as a “gourmet” group; but since none of us are trained chefs, it soon turned into more of a foodie group. And what fun we’ve had!

When we started we were not friends, more like acquaintances. The four of us ladies were volunteering at our kids’ school, working on the same fundraiser and in our kids’ classrooms. So we knew each other, but we had never met each other’s spouses or hung out together. Perhaps because of this we didn’t have any expectations of one another. It was a mutual love of cooking and an interest in entertaining that brought us together.

[Wishing we had more pictures from that first Gr8 Dinner…We never thought we’d be doing a blog when we started!]

Our husbands, of course, were a little skeptical (maybe a LOT skeptical!), but after the first dinner, they were each more accepting of the idea. They actually all got along! And they realized that these were not going to be stuffy gourmet dinner parties, but just a group of friends getting together for dinner. (Check out the “rules” to learn more.)

Our dinner themes revolve around countries and cultures, favorite celebrity chefs, holidays, cities, even rock ‘n roll…you name it, we’ve probably done it! The husbands really like when we do sports themes or fun things like our recent “Wild West” theme.Wild West

The invitation for that first dinner was modest compared to subsequent invitations. I did a simple card printed on my home computer. To make it special I sewed the envelope out of organza. This sounds like a lot of work, but remember we only have to make THREE! (I knew my junior high sewing class would come in handy!)

Since the date was the beginning of December, I chose a holiday meal theme and used my best dishes. And the decorations were easy; because it was Christmastime the house was already decorated. I didn’t have to think about any special decorations at all.

~ Menu ~

Assorted Appetizers and Cocktails

Candied Pear Salad

Crown Roast of Pork with Spiced Fruit Chutney

Steamed Broccoli à la Kyle

Farinella’s Wild Rice with Mushrooms

Dessert of Choice

This Wild Rice with Mushrooms will thrill and fill your hearty eaters. Wild rice has enough protein to be a main course or served as a side dish!We never dreamed that these dinner parties would continue for 19 years or that we would become the best of friends. I think it’s because we kept it pretty simple, one of our main rules is that you don’t have to try recipes ahead of time, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll order out! And we’ve NEVER had to do that.

So gather a group of friends, plan some dates and start your own group!

Remember ~ Gr8 Food, Gr8 Friends, Gr8 Fun!

Edited from original post date of December 24, 2015.



  1. Brenda Perlin | 24th Dec 15

    Thank you for inviting us into your homes!!!

    • Anna | 24th Dec 15

      Thanks for being a Gr8 friend and joining us!

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