The dinner party is a wonderful way of bringing people together with good food and drink. Throwing this kind of soiree can be intimidating, however, and the menu can pose challenges of all sorts. Hosting the ultimate dinner party is achievable with these five simple rules.

As written in the book, “How to Eat a Peach,” by cook Diana Henry, people have emotional connections with food. Delicious eats are something folks remember vividly, and certain foods come to signify special personal moments. Henry is an expert at designing menus for entertaining, and the dinner party is one evening event where guests should feel “comfortable, satisfied and transported to another time or place.”

1. Fancy Doesn’t Matter
Diana Henry believes that starting off with super deluxe appetizers are not necessary. The basics, however, should be of great quality, and these include butter and bread.

2. Make Palate Pairings
Another tip is being aware of flavor pairings. Create a pattern of palate pleasers that show contrast like salty to sweet. Also, choose textures and food temperatures to merge in uniqueness.

3. No To Repeat Ingredients
Some people like to keep a general food theme going such as serving guests a pork terrine and then, a pork roast. Henry says that can be too rich.

She also cautions against throwing a fried food dinner party for large gatherings. The preparations and process can eat up the clock.

4. Simple Is Really Okay
A dinner party of uncomplicated, delicious food is truly appreciated even if the host believes her meal isn’t elegant enough. For instance, a roast chicken is a classic entree liked by most guests. Serve that alongside roasted baby potatoes and a green salad, and it’s a can’t miss choice.

Henry recommends making a more elaborate dessert to balance the menu. In her case, she would bake an apricot, almond brown butter tart dolloped with sweetened whipped cream.

5. Creating A Menu Blueprint
A great dinner party is born with thoughtful planning. Knowing what one can manage is key, and Henry advises never cooking more than two courses the day of the party and if necessary, only one at the last minute.

Being trapped in the kitchen for most of the evening is not where the host belongs.