The Dinner Party Trend to Expect in 2019

For Christmas one year, I got my Norwegian grandma a book by Alice Waters, 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering. Alice Waters’ unique cooking style established a menu at her restaurant that serves the most delicious produce only when it’s in season. This reminded me of my grandma’s holistic philosophies in the kitchen that celebrate the joy of gathering. I’m seeing more and more how the Scandinavian way of joyful living has influenced American practices. Here is the dinner party trend to expect in 2019.

Alice Waters’ book, written in 2011, describes “family meal” in her restaurant. Before the restaurant opens for dinner service, her staff shares a casual family-style meal together. Her communal sentiment has proved to be ahead of its time now 8 years later. Encouraging this mindful practice of gathering with intention is now a trend on the rise in American culture.

Family meal, as described by Waters, isn’t fancy. In fact, it’s not focused on presentation at all. The chefs and cooks place their pots and pans directly onto the table. The staff gathers together to celebrate good food and hard work together as a community.

Inspired by Water’s holistic way of creating community, I started challenging some dinging traditions in my own home. We all know the traditional rules and restrictions that come with traditional dinner parties: scheduled courses, strict etiquette guidelines, and formal attire, etc. With rising trends in American culture that celebrate community and embrace personal connection, this recent is bringing us closer. Instead of pretentious undertones, a more relaxed atmosphere can deepen the connection with our food, strengthen our relationships, and ground us in gratitude.

In a recent study conducted by PR Newswire, “77% of Americans would rather eat a homemade meal than eat out in 2019”. With contributing factors that include prioritizing our health & wellness, quality time with family, and cost saving methods, it’s no surprise that home cooked meals will become more common in the upcoming year.

At the same time, simple living lifestyle shifts - including the Danish practice, “hygge” (pronounced hoo-ga) - have been making their way into American culture. Hygge focuses on creating a conscious coziness around an inspired aesthetic. This concept is much more than just decorating with cozy candles and soft blankets. This sentiment leads us straight to a dinner table focused around togetherness.

Family-style dinners are the key to enhancing a sense of community in 2019. Through relaxed presentations, thoughtfully prepared food, and a peaceful ambience, we can add value the wholeness of each experience. As 2019 unfolds, I encourage you to channel Alice Waters and her staff at the dinner table. Gather as a community and bring people together. With this simple change in atmosphere, we can connect deeply with each other and enjoy the essence of each moment.

Check out “Everything You Need to Host a Sustainable Dinner Party” and “Simple Tips to get Ready for a Small Dinner Party.”

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In Forty Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, Alice takes readers on her journey from the humble and visionary beginnings of the restaurant, through its rise and the acclaim, to the Café and the influential Chez Panisse Foundation.