I used to hunt for two kinds of recipes: everyday food for my husband and me, and “company-worthy” dishes for entertaining. The two sets of recipes hardly ever overlapped—neither in the big file box with precisely labeled folders that I crammed full of newspaper clippings and torn-out pages from Gourmet, nor in the way I served them.
We were newly married, learning how to cook and host together in our small apartment. I’d spend hours coming up with ambitious, multi-course menus that started with hors d'oeuvres and a soup or plated salad. We’d go to multiple grocery stores and specialty markets to hunt down ingredients, if that's what it took, and would start prepping days in advance. I made everything I could from scratch. We enjoyed those dinner parties, but without fail, we’d collapse from exhaustion after our guests left, leaving a mountain of dirty dishes for the next day.