Religion & Beliefs

How To: Plan A Shabbat Dinner

My favorite part of any week is Shabbat dinner. Good food, good friends, and usually a somewhat inappropriate conversation always means a good time. Hosting a Shabbat dinner can seem like a formidable task, especially if you’re not big on … Read More

By / February 13, 2008

My favorite part of any week is Shabbat dinner. Good food, good friends, and usually a somewhat inappropriate conversation always means a good time. Hosting a Shabbat dinner can seem like a formidable task, especially if you’re not big on entertaining in general, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here’s a handy little schedule for planning your next Shabbat dinner. Sunday-Tuesday: Invite guests. Eight is the ideal number for one raucous conversation, and ideally you want to keep the ratio of guys to girls fairly even, but there’s no hard and fast rules here. Remember to ask your guests if they have any food allergies. Tuesday: Plan menu. You know your own limitations in the kitchen, but a nice baseline standard is challah, a soup or appetizer, a main course, a vegetable, a starch and a dessert.

Wednesday: Make a shopping list based on the menu you’ve planned. Thursday: Shop. Don’t forget Shabbat candles and a bottle of wine. On Thursday night prepare at least two of the items on your menu so that Friday isn’t so crazy. If you buy challah and make a soup that can just be thrown in the crock pot and/or buy dessert, you’re not looking at much cooking at all. Friday: Finish cooking. Make sure you’ve got candlesticks and a challah cover. You also probably want a siddur to consult for Kiddush, hand washing and motzi. And possibly those little booklets (bentchers) with grace after the meal in them. If you plan wisely, you can cook for as little as an hour and a half on Friday and still have a plenty elaborate meal for your friends. If people bring a dish, you’re down even more work.

Here's a checklist of essential items to make sure you have ahead of time: Challah and Challah Cover Candles and Candlesticks Wine and Kiddush Cup Siddur and bentchers It’s really not that hard, and a good Shabbat dinner can pretty much carry you through until next week, especially if the leftovers are good.

Previously: How to Host Havdalah