It has become a more recent phenomenon for me that instead of being invited to peoples houses to break bread and share a meal I am getting invited to meet at a restaurant for dinner.

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When has this changed to become more of the norm than at home dinning?

Could it be equated to the plethora of wonderful restaurants and cafes that have popped up all over Perth?  Are our lives now so busy that we do not have the time to plan, cook and host at home? Is it that it is just so much easier to set a day and time and meet up at a restaurant, have dinner and then head off on your way?

I think perhaps it is a combination of all of the above, depending on your current situation.  We live in increasingly busy, hectic lives and I know coming from a cooking background the amount of time that goes into looking for the right menu, shopping for the ingredients, preparing everything, serving it and then clearing it up after all the guests have departed.

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My setting for a recent Sunday lunch!

I do love to do this but not necessarily all the time and do love the idea of just meeting at a nice restaurant enjoying being waited on and served and then just heading off after the meal is over without having to worry about cleaning up.

It is also a great chance to explore and delight in a range of cuisines that you may not have the desire or the ability to tackle at home when entertaining.  The chance to feast on a truly original degustation menu or some Turkish cuisine for example is something that if I had a commercial kitchen and 2 or 3 others to work with me on would probably happen but with the kitchen I have at home, although it is perfect for a nice dinner for 8 would be touch to create a degustation meal from…

I do enjoy planning a menu, going shopping for the ingredients, doing the preparation and then serving the meal whilst being in my own space and not being hampered by time constraints.  A perfect example is a lunch that I had yesterday for 8 people that had the guests arrive at 12.30 and then not depart until just after 5pm.

That would have been difficult to do in a restaurant setting and it also meant we could all sit back, relax, be loud, be thoughtful, do what we like really and serve the meal over a couple of hours and really enjoy the company.

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So I am torn when I think about it because there are pluses to both options.  I do know that after a full on week at work one of the last things that I want to do is plan and get ready to entertain and after not doing any entertaining for a few weeks it is nice to do the whole thing and have people over.

So there is really no answer to my dilemma except to probably say that I am happy with either option as long as I get to spend quality time with friends, family and loved ones socially and to be able to break bread and share some new experiences with them.

Caramelised fruit