Creating a progressive dinner routine is an excellent way to bring neighbors, friends and even families together. By spreading the work and cooking around to many people, these dinners present an excellent, relatively trouble-free way for folks to get to know each other better while enjoying a fun experience.

Progressive dinners typically involve multi-course meals that take place in different homes. They are generally hosted within neighborhoods, on a single block or even in apartment or condo complexes. The basic neighborhood setting tends to lend itself very well to walking between courses rather than driving. This can be especially beneficial if cocktails and nightcaps are included in the course lineup. There is nothing that prevents having courses take place further distances away, however. Just plan smart and omit these “courses” or designate a driver or two.

While a progressive dinner event can take place as a one-time thing, many participants find they enjoy them enough to start a tradition. For example, some people plan dinners on a monthly or every-other-month basis with very specific themes in mind. Others prefer to allow an anything-goes styling for meal planning, but keep the dinner tradition going on a fairly regular basis, passing cooking duties along to different hosts as they go.

If you’d like to get a progressive dinner tradition going in your neighborhood or with your friends and family, the effort doesn’t really involve all that much work. Pick an evening, enlist a few cooks and make a guest list. Make sure all the cooks involved know how many to expect. This can greatly impact the planning on their part, as well. If a theme is desired, select and share this in advance too.

The courses that are assigned or selected by participants during progressive dinners can be very extensive or quite basic. Options to consider include before-dinner drinks and hor d’ oeuvres, more substantial appetizers, soup and salad, main course with sides, desserts and then nightcaps.

If themes are desired, they can run the gamut. They might include such things as holiday fare, ethnic favorites, barbecue, picnic and more. The sky is really the limit.
Progressive dinners provide an interesting way for families to get closer or neighbors to get to know each other better. By providing a tasty way to socialize, these dinners are becoming staples of social life in many areas. Since they spread the work around, they are often adored by participants, as well.