Host a virtual dinner party to keep lockdown blues away

Staying connected is harder than ever but a small online gathering lets you spend meaningful time with friends

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      I’m a big fan of an over-the-top dinner party.

      No less than five courses (with wine pairings for each), a curated playlist and carefully selected group of friends is my idea of a perfect Friday night in.

      It feels so trivial to admit, but hosting dinner parties is one of the things I miss most about pre-pandemic life.

      We’re all trying our best to find ways to stay connected. Surviving lockdown is a mental test, one I mostly feel like I’m failing. But, if my Twitter feed is anything to go by, I’m not alone in that sentiment.

      The summer was a nice reprieve and I kept having patio dinners way past the sensible temperature cut-off just to eke out the last moments of collective-ish gathering.

      As the months melt into each other and daily life feels more like a fever dream, I’m trying my hardest to create connections virtually.

      My solution was to bring an element of interactivity into virtual hangouts by teaching my friends to cook a meal and then enjoying the same thing together even though we’re apart.

      I know we’re all tired of Zoom, but hosting a virtual dinner party was genuinely fun. It was more fulfilling than a Netflix group watch because cooking is such a hands-on activity. I can probably make this kale pesto in my sleep but cooking and teaching it to my friends in real time brought new life to the recipe.

      The virtual dinner party had all the highlights of a normal one: someone forgetting a crucial ingredient, toasting to every little thing as an excuse to refill our glasses, hilarious banter between people “meeting” for the first time and a temporary escape from real life.

      If you want to host one, I suggest choosing a simple recipe and keeping the guest list small.

      If cooking isn’t your thing, try anything that involves using your hands and do it with your friends virtually. That could be assembling Lego sculptures, painting or knitting, whatever floats your boat.

      In the video, a friend of mine mentions her grandmother has been teaching her to bake new things every week, which is the cutest, most wholesome use of Zoom I’ve heard yet.