Is the Dinner Party Dead?

I don’t know how old British writer Anna Pickard is, but she has managed to reach the ripe age of whatever without hosting a dinner party. This, of course, leaves her with one option: Do the deed and write about it.

As she says in the resulting Guardian article, “ever since Nigella announced that we are all capable of becoming domestic goddesses with only a rosti ring and a heaving bosom, I’ve been attracted to the concept.”

There is probably no incredibly successful first dinner party—Nigella and her heaving bosoms excepted—and the dinner in question is, as expected, wonky. Anna is left asking, is the traditional dinner party now outmoded?

Do we all go out to eat instead? Is it more the fashion just to let someone else do it rather than spending the day slaving over a hot stove just to spend the evening wondering whether everyone was just being polite and if they all stopped off at the kebab shop on the way home?

The responses are mixed, from laundry lists of dos and don’ts (don’t ever make a new dish for the first time) to assertions that it’s not worth the bother. “Oh, for christ’s sake … Order pizza and have a laugh with your friends,” says one reader. “This is not the 70s. Nobody cares about how good a cook you are; they care about enjoying your company.”

What do you think—is the dinner party dead? Should we all just crack open a drink and order takeout? I know that at every dinner party I’ve ever thrown, about 20 minutes before the guests arrive, I’m feeling like it’s not a bad idea.