Cheap entertaining: The grilled-cheese party

I love to cook and I love to talk, which means that I love to entertain. Few things bring me more pleasure than having some friends over, whipping up something obscure and vaguely pretentious, and sitting around, enjoying their company. Most people pretend that entertaining is something that they do for friends and family. I have no such delusions: while I do everything in my power to ensure that my guests are having fun, I definitely entertain for my own enjoyment.

Entertaining in my house also tends to be an informal thing, and I like to put guests in the kitchen, stick an apron on them, and put them to work. Some of my best conversations have been around the kitchen table as my friends and I prepare food. Also, having friends in the kitchen tends to make them somewhat proprietary about the meal--they get to tell war stories about making it, while delighting in the other guests' enjoyment.