PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with We Love Our Lamb to prevent your brilliant dinner party from ever going south. Keep reading for the 411.

Ah, dinner parties. They’re arguably the greatest social occasion one can ever be involved with when executed properly. Like, what’s not to love about bringing friends/fam together to break bread and probably drink too much? NOTHING. NOTHING I TELLS YA.

But as mentioned, that’s only the case when they run their course as they should. Dinner parties have a knack of turning south real quick – which ain’t made easier by the array of new-age considerations we’ve gotta adhere to. New research from We Love Our Lamb confirms that we’re wayyyyy more conscious of our guests’ needs than we’ve been in the past.

61% of those surveyed believe that “hosts have to cater for a variety of dietary requirements, including gluten intolerance (25%) and dairy intolerance (22%), so are seeking meals that unite everyone around the table.” 

This probably has a lot to do with the spike us millennials have caused in the frequency of dinner parties.

At home dinner parties – be it a casual soiree or formal meal – are more popular than ever, with almost nine in ten Australians (88%) catching up with friends and families over a meal at home. Leading the pack are Millennials with 56% hosting or attending a dinner party at least once a month, in comparison to 41% of Gen X and 24% of Baby Boomers.

Given how often we’re getting around dinner parties, as well as the new things we’ve gotta take into account, the likelihood of your gathering going to crap is even greater than ever before. There are two ways to prevent this, folks – keeping the conversation spicy (but not inflammatory) (but also, you do you) and cooking something everyone’s gonna get around.

CONVERSATION TOPICS

Draw on these engaging takes if your guests are bored out of their mind. Oh, and don’t worry if you think they’re a bit too hectic. Our minds are perpetually in the gutter apparently.

When it comes to millennial dinner parties, the conversation is as colourful as the menu. Hottest topics for discussion are gossip (54%), travel (49%), careers (47%) and relationships and sex (39%).

  • So, what was the last book you all pretended to read?
  • Who was the last person to make a comment about the weather to you, and what do you believe happened in their childhood to make them be the sort of idiot who comments on the weather?
  • What meal have you had recently that brought you close to climax? Was it the meal you’re eating RN, perchance?
  • How much would you cough up for a packet of Schezwan Sauce?
  • What song would you pick to play as the intro for a musical based entirely on your life?
  • When you travel to your mental ‘happy place’ to avoid accosting an annoying colleague, what does it look like?
  • If you died and were made to be reincarnated as one of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, which would you be?
  • If you were in my shoes (which you’d look fab in, btw), then what meal would you serve? 
  • When was the last time you fell over in public and how many people saw you tumble?
  • What’s the grossest pickup line someone’s legit used on you before?
  • Give us the 411 on your biggest kitchen fail.
  • Which mythical place in pop culture would you sacrifice your left testicle to live IRL?
  • What item would you bring with you if you were trapped on a deserted island with Donald Trump?
  • If you had to give Anne Hathaway feedback on her performance in The Devil Wear’s Prada, what would you say?
  • What food cheers you up when you’re sobbing your eyes out?
  • What character in Friends do you feel a spiritual affinity with?

Figuring out what’ll be a crowd pleaser on the food front ain’t a simple undertaking. If you’re planning on serving meat and are keen on playing it safe, then lamb’s your best bet. If you’re in agreement, then check out the below Jalapeno, Lime, Honey & Coriander Lamb Shoulder Tacos recipe.

Image: We Love Our Lamb

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients

1.4kg lamb shoulder, bone in
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 jalapenos, seeded, finely chopped
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 tbsp honey
1/2 bunch coriander leaves and stems, finely chopped
2/3 cup vegetable stock
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
1/4 green cabbage, finely shredded
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Soft tacos, lemon wedges, coriander leaves and garlic aioli, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160° fan-forced).
  2. In a medium bowl combine olive oil, garlic, jalapeños, half the lime zest and juice, honey and coriander, season. Make small incisions in the lamb with a sharp knife, pour over marinade and rub to coat. Place lamb in a large roasting pan, pour stock around base and cover tightly with foil.
  3. Cook in oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until meat is tender and falling off bone. Set aside to rest for 20 minutes. Shred lamb with 2 forks. Drizzle with any pan juices, drained of fat.
  4. Meanwhile place fennel, fronds, cabbage, onions, remaining lime zest and juice and extra coriander in a large bowl. Season and toss to coat.
  5. Serve lamb on tacos with coleslaw, aioli and lime wedges.

Cooking Tips

  • Take your lamb out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to ensure it cooks more evenly out of direct sunlight.
  • Try lamb ribs or lamb neck fillet in place of shoulder.

So there you go, folks. With the conversation and food elements of your dinner party sorted, everything should go off without a hitch.

Image: Arena / The Real Housewives Of Sydney