Last weekend, Catherine and I decided to host a virtual dinner party. We cooked up 60+ BUMP kofta kebabs, chopped up 50 tomatoes, 14 cucumbers, and a dozen onions and delivered a pita wrap dinner for more than 25 of our friends and their kids.
Everyone then signed on to the same virtual call and we shared a meal together.
Was it the same as a regular dinner party? Of course not. But it was still a great experience.
I think that everyone is craving those social connections that we took for granted before social distancing narrowed the pathways in our lives. And eating together is normally one of the most important shared experiences we have.
I know that many people are going to be trying their own version of a virtual Easter dinner or Seder this week, so I thought it might be helpful to share a few tips and tricks we learned from our experience.
Tip #1 - If you’re responsible for preparing food for everyone, give yourself more time than you think you need and prep more in advance than usual. Portioning and packaging up food for each household will take more time than you expect. You can make your life easier by making sure you’ve got lots of containers to work with so you’re not scrambling to find a way to securely transport hot gravy at the last minute.
Tip #2 - Assign someone to lead or chair the video call. It may seem overly formal, but things can get a little chaotic with the conversation bouncing between everyone talking at once to awkward silence if there’s no one there to moderate. The chat function on most of the video call platforms works well to allow people to interject with their quips and comments while someone else has the floor.
Tip #3 - Do a little prep work and get a game going. I distributed a quiz to our friends in advance and I used their answers to set up a “How well do you know your friends?” slideshow quiz and a round of “Two truths and a lie.” It really helped to stimulate the conversation, we learned something new about everyone, and it gave us something to talk about other than the global pandemic we’re living through. You won’t believe how good it feels to talk about something else for an hour or two.
The final tip is to not worry about problems that crop up. Maybe the food gets dropped off a little late. Someone’s going to have trouble logging on or struggle to figure out how the mute function works. No one is going to care in the end. Your friends and family are going to be grateful that someone took the time to organize a get together that no one will even notice the hiccups.
If you do decide to host your own virtual dinner party and put BUMP on the menu, we’d love it if you tagged us on Instagram and let us know what you made.
Photo: James forming 180 individual kofta pieces (and in need of a haircut.)
Virtual Dinner Party Quiz Questions
When are everyone's birthdays?
How many countries have you visited?
What's the longest you've worked at a single job and what was it?
What was your first job?
What's Everyone's Favourite Food?
What's your favourite sport to watch?
How many siblings do you have?
How many pets have you had in your life?
Coffee or tea?
Beer or wine?
Window or aisle seat on the airplane?
Do you consider yourself a good cook?
Two Truths and One Lie
To play a few rounds of two truths and a lie you need people to share three stories. As the name implies, two need to be true, the other a lie. It's up to your friends to guess the lie so try and make it believable. I've suggested some categories below you can make up your own categories or not use categories at all. The lies should be totally untrue, not just a true story with names changed, etc.
Category - Jobs
Answer with two true silly/funny/scary/embarrassing/interesting/etc things that have happened to you at work and then make something up that's untrue. Provide a few sentences of detail.
Category - Celebrities
Tell us the details about your most exciting celebrity/athlete encounters. Two true and one lie.
Category - Travel
Everyone has had something weird or crazy happen to them while they've been traveling. Give us your two best true stories and one that's made up.
Category - Family
Everyone has a crazy aunt or cousin story to share. Give us your two best real and one made up story. Try and keep these positive.
Category - Household
Whether it's renovations gone wrong, moving mistakes, asshole landlords, or crazy neighbours - homes aren't always peaceful sanctuaries. Tell us three interesting things about one of your homes or apartments. Two true, one lie.
Have another great idea for a set of truths and lies? Share them.