“Come for coffee and dessert” that’s a common invitation nowadays, especially on weekday nights, when early rising next morning must be considered. It’s a popular way to entertain small groups of friends who enjoy cards, and perhaps a little larger group of friends whom you invite to watch a special television program. The dessert party is easy on the hostess as she can make all her preparations before her guests arrive.

The table may be arranged buffet style with plates, coffee cups, cream and sugar, silver and napkins. If a cold dessert has been chosen, it may already be in place when guests arrive. In any case, they can help themselves to both dessert and coffee. Large rather than demitasse cups are chosen for a party of this sort. There should be provisions for second helpings of dessert which may be one of your particular specials, such as strawberry shortcake in season, baked Alaska, Boston cream pie or a fine layer cake, or perhaps ice cream with a special sauce. If you know that your guests prefer lighter desserts, a fruit combination, such as ambrosia or a mixed fruit in wine or brandy, may be chosen. With this, dainty cookies may be offered if you like.

If you prefer an evening party for a Friday or Saturday night, the food you offer may follow a very different pattern, as it will be served at a later hour. It may consist merely of a cheese tray with a variety of crackers or buttered French or rye bread to accompany it. There should be a choice of beverages such as coffee, beer, or other chilled bottled drinks.

You may like to use your chafing dish or electric grill to prepare Welsh Rabbit or a fondue, or perhaps creamed oysters with celery, lobster Newburg, chicken a la king, or a shrimp Creole. Hot toast should be served with these and a relish tray may be an accompaniment if you like. A hearty soup such as French onion or a fish chowder is also suggested for a late snack.