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Whatever happened to the Canberra dinner party?

By bronal - 13 October 2014 15

When I came to Canberra in the mid-70s, dinner parties were very much a mainstay of the social scene, primarily amongst couples of course, but singles were included too, especially if there was someone the hosts thought you could be paired off with!

It’s not that there weren’t restaurants and clubs in those days (anyone remember the Bacchus Tavern?), or that people weren’t as affluent, relatively speaking, as they are now.

I remember the various fads (progressive dinners, fondue parties, steamboats) and the artery-clogging menus as well!

When I hear people who are the age I was then (mid-20s) talk about what they did at the weekend I rarely, if ever, hear mention of a dinner party.  Restaurants, clubs, bars, yes but no dinner parties.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Whatever happened to the Canberra dinner party?
bigred 7:20 pm 14 Oct 14

Dinner parties are always problematic due to food allergies and freegans.

pink little birdie 7:12 pm 14 Oct 14

bronal said :

Ghettosmurf87 said :

damian said :

GenX & GenY expect the catering work to be done by others, not themselves. Many wouldn’t know how to cook for a dinner party anyway. They want to be out “being seen” in “cool” places with noisy music, exorbitant prices and easy alcohol on tap.

As opposed to whatever generation Damian is from who prefer to make sweeping generalisations about the populus, bemoan the “youth” of today, lust for the distant past where everything was rose-tinted and are no doubt yelling at passing clouds while they are at it?

Or perhaps, just perhaps, dinner parties were only really a thing for a small subset of society, not something everyone did.

Or perhaps today’s generations are time poor but money rich, so it makes sense to outsource the catering etc to a restaurant so that you can just enjoy your time with your friends, rather than trying to find extra time to set everything up

In using the term ‘dinner party’ I didn’t mean to imply something elaborate or grand (although people did put a fair bit of effort into them). Usually just two or three couples, etc getting together.

Mostly ours with friends are pot luck for 10+ people or making making something simple like tacos or curries.
My mum cooks for 9 for family dinner + attachments once a week and my partners family once a week. Are family dinners counted as dinner parties cos then we hit 2 a week guaranteed.
Doing a regular dinner party for 6 plus people is effort for the host. So for our regular 10 people it’s usually out (once a fortnight) cos finding a house to cater for that for mainly share houses is hard.

Ghettosmurf87 12:58 pm 14 Oct 14

bronal said :

In using the term ‘dinner party’ I didn’t mean to imply something elaborate or grand (although people did put a fair bit of effort into them). Usually just two or three couples, etc getting together.

Well, if that’s the case, they happen more often than you might imagine, though it’s not necessarily something that is everyone’s cup of tea.

bronal 12:52 pm 14 Oct 14

Ghettosmurf87 said :

damian said :

GenX & GenY expect the catering work to be done by others, not themselves. Many wouldn’t know how to cook for a dinner party anyway. They want to be out “being seen” in “cool” places with noisy music, exorbitant prices and easy alcohol on tap.

As opposed to whatever generation Damian is from who prefer to make sweeping generalisations about the populus, bemoan the “youth” of today, lust for the distant past where everything was rose-tinted and are no doubt yelling at passing clouds while they are at it?

Or perhaps, just perhaps, dinner parties were only really a thing for a small subset of society, not something everyone did.

Or perhaps today’s generations are time poor but money rich, so it makes sense to outsource the catering etc to a restaurant so that you can just enjoy your time with your friends, rather than trying to find extra time to set everything up

In using the term ‘dinner party’ I didn’t mean to imply something elaborate or grand (although people did put a fair bit of effort into them). Usually just two or three couples, etc getting together.

Antagonist 11:45 am 14 Oct 14

pink little birdie said :

We had 40 friends over for a delicious spit roast on Saturday night.
Usually dinner parties are a weeknight thing. All quite civilized mainly alcohol free and early finishing because work in the morning.

That is an awful lot of car keys to sort through!

Ghettosmurf87 10:43 am 14 Oct 14

damian said :

GenX & GenY expect the catering work to be done by others, not themselves. Many wouldn’t know how to cook for a dinner party anyway. They want to be out “being seen” in “cool” places with noisy music, exorbitant prices and easy alcohol on tap.

As opposed to whatever generation Damian is from who prefer to make sweeping generalisations about the populus, bemoan the “youth” of today, lust for the distant past where everything was rose-tinted and are no doubt yelling at passing clouds while they are at it?

Or perhaps, just perhaps, dinner parties were only really a thing for a small subset of society, not something everyone did.

Or perhaps today’s generations are time poor but money rich, so it makes sense to outsource the catering etc to a restaurant so that you can just enjoy your time with your friends, rather than trying to find extra time to set everything up

dungfungus 10:00 am 14 Oct 14

bronal said :

dungfungus said :

Was the Bacchus Tavern you are referring to the one in the basement of an office block on the corner of University Avenue and Marcus Clarke Street?
The man-food there was superb. The only better steak in town was at (Angelo’s) Minos Tavern at Griffith shops.
I think I imperilled my liver function at both of these places.
The introduction of the fringe benefits tax saved me.

Not quite (but nearly). It was in the basement of the building that used to be known as the ‘Minter Ellison’ building next to the small car park opposite the Canberra Club building.

That’s the one!
From memory, there was also a great restaurant on the first floor of Canberra House on the Western side. For many years, the Canberra Club ran an superb restaurant as well as the bistro. I haven’t been associated with the Canberra Club since they closed that restaurant.

bronal 9:30 am 14 Oct 14

dungfungus said :

Was the Bacchus Tavern you are referring to the one in the basement of an office block on the corner of University Avenue and Marcus Clarke Street?
The man-food there was superb. The only better steak in town was at (Angelo’s) Minos Tavern at Griffith shops.
I think I imperilled my liver function at both of these places.
The introduction of the fringe benefits tax saved me.

Not quite (but nearly). It was in the basement of the building that used to be known as the ‘Minter Ellison’ building next to the small car park opposite the Canberra Club building.

dungfungus 10:25 pm 13 Oct 14

Was the Bacchus Tavern you are referring to the one in the basement of an office block on the corner of University Avenue and Marcus Clarke Street?
The man-food there was superb. The only better steak in town was at (Angelo’s) Minos Tavern at Griffith shops.
I think I imperilled my liver function at both of these places.
The introduction of the fringe benefits tax saved me.

damian 8:14 pm 13 Oct 14

GenX & GenY expect the catering work to be done by others, not themselves. Many wouldn’t know how to cook for a dinner party anyway. They want to be out “being seen” in “cool” places with noisy music, exorbitant prices and easy alcohol on tap.

pink little birdie 7:01 pm 13 Oct 14

We had 40 friends over for a delicious spit roast on Saturday night.
Usually dinner parties are a weeknight thing. All quite civilized mainly alcohol free and early finishing because work in the morning.

tuco 5:41 pm 13 Oct 14

Maybe people have got rid of their cars (and keys) in anticipation of the new Metro?

dkNigs 5:26 pm 13 Oct 14

Young people these days seem to be far less flakey going to a bar or club, than being invited to your house. Everyone is happy to congregate in the town centres, but a lot of people don’t want to travel to the suburbs in the far reaches. Also if you drive to a friends house, you’re not drinking. Public transport is rarely an option.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:47 pm 13 Oct 14

I’m late thirties, and we have dinner parties (often family, also with friends) most weekends. Great fun, works well with kids, and you can cook fun stuff and have nice wine at sensible prices. Having a dozen or more people all sitting down together eating, drinking and laughing is good fun and very socially easy.

nsh 1:05 pm 13 Oct 14

I still host dinner parties all the time – every weekend pretty much. That said, I am a pretty decent cook. I moved here in my mid-twenties, and I’m almost 30 now.

I still prefer a good dinner party to any bar or nightclub.

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