THE economic downturn is changing people's living habits, with almost 19 million people in Britain no longer throwing dinner parties because of the expense.
This is revealed in a survey* that comes in handy as a topic when a journalist has to write a column before rushing to the pub.
It's a case of don't come dine with me because the cost of the average dinner party is apparently about £60.
But, as an alternative, here are some ideas on how to put home entertaining on a sound financial footing. Tell a friend you'd love to learn how to cook that lovely leg of lamb with the lemon roast potatoes and the homemade mint sauce. Could she bring the ingredients over and show you how? Some hand-dived scallops would be nice for starters.
When friends bring a bottle of wine, charge corkage. A fiver is reasonable. Really good wine should be hidden away for later personal consumption. Serve Lambrusco instead.
Say that as a result of the recession you had to introduce a £14.95 prix fixe menu but there is the option of going a la carte. Leave the tips jar prominently displayed.
Tell friends you were going to invite them to dinner but cannot do so because Fred Goodwin destroyed the economy. They are more than welcome to join you on Skype for a chat as you and the wife have corned beef, beans and McCain oven chips for your tea. Coverage will also be available on Facebook and Twitter.
Or just move to Edinburgh where everyone has had their tea anyway.
*The survey was conducted on behalf of the Very Lazy cooking ingredients company which, of course, has no axe to grind (but presumably quite a few herbs and spices) when it comes to food.
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