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Q: What should I do if I’m invited to a birthday or anniversary party and the invitation says “no gifts”?  I feel awkward going to a party or sit-down dinner and not bringing something for the guest of honor.  Would a bottle of wine or champagne be appropriate? A: Invitations to celebrations often specify “No […]


Q: I have had a guest in my house for five days now. Is it common to change guest towels mid-week or should you wait until weeks end? I have always waited until the weeks end to change bedding and towels when someone visits. However, now I am wondering if that is improper. My guest […]


Q: How would you word an invitation to a 70th birthday party at a restaurant and let guests know that they do not have to pay for their meal or drinks? There will also be entertainment. A: The party’s hosts are expected to pay for all of the expenses. Therefore, it is not necessary nor […]


Buttermilk Feather Cake with Nutmeg

by epi on December 28, 2012

It’s featherlight, moist from the buttermilk, and nutmeg scented – simply scrumptious. Because it’s so restrained, it’s versatile, good with pear compote and crème fraîche or whipped cream, or in season with juicy ripe fruit (like peeled, lightly sugared peaches, pitted sliced plums, or berries), or just pristinely on its own. P.S. Don’t skimp on […]


by Rosanna Bowles Pranzo is a midday meal eaten in Italy at 1 PM. Gathering for pranzo is an important ritual for all Italians. The closest tradition Americans have to pranzo is Sunday dinner; in the U.K. it’s afternoon tea. This meal is a diverse cultural moment in which extended family members gather to be together to […]


Q: I have been dating a man 10 years my senior for the past two months. Both he and I feel its time to introduce him to my parents. I thought that it would be nice to do this over dinner at a restaurant of my parents choosing. My mother said that she didn’t care […]


Q: My son is about to be a first-time father, and he asked me if I would be willing to host a baby shower for his wife. They live a distance away from me and therefore the attendees would be friends of mine rather than people from my son’s age group. I told him that […]


Easy Exit: How to depart appropriately

by epi on June 11, 2012

Q: What are the guidelines for making a smooth exit from a gathering? I feel awful when I interrupt the host and hostess if they’re speaking with other people. If it’s a large gathering, do you make the rounds to say good-by to everyone or just the ones closest to the door? I always feel […]


Dan & Cindy’s Icebox Cake

by epi on May 25, 2012

Simple, No-Bake and Tasty! This simple no-bake cake was a staple for Elizabeth Post, Cindy’s mother and Dan’s grandmother. It was so tasty and easy to make that it remains one of our favorite quick-fix desserts today! We use Famous Chocolate Wafers in this icebox cake, and our recipe is a version of the one […]

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from Essential Manners For Men How To Be A Good Host: Six tips Greet guests when they arrive. Circulate among your guests, introduce strangers, and stay long enough to get a conversation started. Keep an eye on your guests and offer to refill drinks as needed. Balance the need to cook with taking care of […]