1. Don’t obsess about your food in front of your guests.
2. Make sure your guests have plenty of water whenever you are plying them with bottles of wine.
3. Try to remember people’s food allergies (the real ones).
4. Be gracious upon accepting hostess gifts. Your guest made an effort.
5. Be gracious when a hostess gift is not presented. Gifts are just that, do not expect one.
6. Be gracious when people are late for a valid reason and let ‘em have it the next day if they were just being flaky.
7. Don’t spend your whole paycheck on one dinner party. Be realistic.
8. If you do know something about wine, be gracious about what’s being served. If you don’t know anything about wine, keep your snotty comments to yourself. You’ll eventually get caught.
9. If vegetarians are present, don’t toast the baby veal for having his legs tied up so that you can eat tender meat.
10. When you are a guest, remember to engage in conversation with the other dinner party guests by asking questions.
11. Whether you are a guest or a host, remember to not dominate the dinner conversation for the entire evening.
12. When you are the host, don’t ask someone to bring over the entire meal.
13. Do not tell dirty jokes/un-P.C. jokes unless EVERYONE is drunk and you know everyone in the room extremely well.
14. Don’t brag about how much a wine costs. If it is a special wine, there are subtle ways of bringing up this point.
15. Don’t cook things that are way beyond your skill level, hoping you might get lucky.
16. If you are the hostess’ husband and you have been at the ballgame all day smoking cigars and drinking and you find yourself ill…try to find your way to a bathroom that is out of ear shot of your guests.
17. If you are a guest and are weary of the hostess’ food, don’t bribe the other guests to take the first bite.
18. If you are the guest and you don’t like the food, learn how to eat, smile and distribute the food on your plate like you have eaten a lot.
19. Don’t get drunk before dinner is served.
20. If you are the host, be constantly aware of your guests’ food and liquid intake. Be prepared to keep their glass full and have plenty of food.
21. If you are the guest, don’t grab the wine bottle and take swigs from it because the host forgets to refill your glass.
22. Be gracious upon accepting compliments. Say “thank you” and “you’re welcome”.
23. If you don’t know how to cook, then you can reciprocate the dinner invitation by ordering food in or taking your hosts to dinner. Or try taking a bloody cooking lesson.
24. Keep a sense of humor about you.
25. If you don’t have a lot money to entertain, a smile and a gracious attitude can go a long way when serving peanut butter and jelly—no joke!
26. If you are the host, make sure there are non-alcoholic drinks for those persons who cannot drink alcohol.
27. If you are the guest, be aware that the hostess has gone to a lot of effort / money for the party. Be gracious and thankful.
28. If you are family, all of these rules still apply.
29. If you are the hostess, remember to eat something so when you have a sip of wine, it won’t go straight to your head.
30. If you are a guest, don’t start to eat until the hostess is seated and has lifted her fork.
31. When toasting, don’t slam your hostess’ crystal into others. Try a simple “tink” or simply raising your glass and looking at each person in the eyes and nodding is perfectly acceptable.
32. Don’t go to someone’s house and immediately turn the ballgame on.
33. If you are the hostess and there happens to be an “important” game on and it isn’t too distracting, offer your guests the TV.
34. For the most part, the TV should be off when you have guests over.
35. If you are the host and your dog pees when excitedly greeting guests, make sure he is put away for the evening.
36. If you are the host and you know that a guest is allergic to your cat, make sure they are away for evening.
37. If you are the guest with cat allergies and you know that your host has one, remember to bring a non-drowsy decongestant.
38. If you are the hostess, keep your eye on the prize and remember why you are going to all this effort.
39. If you bring a bottle of wine over to someone’s house, don’t expect that it will be opened that night. If you want to bring a special bottle to share, discreetly arrange before the dinner party.
40. If you are the guest, don’t arrive with uninvited guests.
41. If you are the guest and it was ok to bring your child/children, make sure your children are well behaved or don’t bring them. Don’t let your child leave the dinner table with greasy, dirty hands and faces, no matter how old they are.
42. Try to RSVP to the hostess in a timely manner, not hours beforehand.
43. If you are the guest, don’t stay too late. Your hostess has worked hard and still has a ton of cleanup to do.
44. If you are the guest, don’t dash off right after dessert is served.
45. If you are the hostess, make sure your spouse/significant other is in the room seeing to the conversation and guests while you are serving up dinner.
46. If you find you have cottonmouth, you probably have been talking too much and not asking enough questions.
47. If you are a picky eater (not real allergies), inform your hostess of ONE OR TWO things you don’t like to eat. If you are served something you don’t like, pick around it or next time, stay home or bring your own food.
48. If you are the hostess, try to accommodate vegetarians when you can.
49. If you are the guest and you are a vegetarian, don’t demand everything that is served be vegetarian.
50. If you are the guest, don’t overbook yourself for the evening.
51. For both parties, take the high road and kill ‘em with kindness and a smile. You might actually have fun.
Angela Camacho, a certified sommelier and author of a best selling wine tool, The Wine Wheel®, shares her obsession with wine and food.