The lost art of inviting friends over for dinner

In our restaurant-obsessed society, are we forgetting the value of at-home hospitality?

A house.

Restaurants are wonderful, full stop. There is something endlessly delightful about going to a comfortable, public place and having perfect strangers bring you a meal made all the more delicious by the fact that you did not have to cook it. It is remarkable that Americans now allot more of our food budgets to restaurants than to grocery stores — but honestly, I get it. A single fancy-ish meal out with a craft cocktail or two can easily exceed my grocery bill for the week, and if I went to restaurants as often as I'd like, even sans cocktails, I'd quickly eat myself into the poorhouse.

Yet this is not an article in praise of restaurants but in praise of not going to restaurants, of refusing to make them the default option for hanging out with friends. Instead of always heading to a favorite local haunt, I'm increasingly an advocate of hosting people at home. Kept super casual, it's cheaper by far, and it doesn't have to be as daunting as it may sound. Pinterest and Instagram suggest having people over must be a very produced, all-inclusive thing — if you can't make it perfect, carefully filtered images of a beautiful place setting suggest, just don't bother — but nothing could be further from the truth.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.