Dinner parties are traditionally formal affairs, with three courses and proper place settings - think Margot Leadbetter with her flowing gowns and perfectly positioned cutlery.

But do we still care about formal dinner parties, or does afternoon tea or a communal takeaway do the trick?

Cookware brand Pyrex recently set out to canvass our opinions on the dinner party and discovered surprising results.

 

It seems the traditional set-up, with multiple courses and the full works, is still a staple of our social lives, with almost half of us hosting a dinner party for friends or family at least once a month.

A good half of us like to maintain table etiquette (and promise to know a fish knife from a cake fork). And, despite endless sitcom scenarios warning us not to, a brave two-thirds of us like to try a new recipe.

But hosts take note: it seems half of us can forgo a starter, but take away our dessert and we are almost universally not amused.

We're not keen if you seem stressed or don't eat with your guests, either, and woe betide any host who tries to clear up before everyone has finished. And please, absolutely no enforced games or 'entertainment'.

But don't be put off: we're essentially a pretty forgiving lot. Most of us think it's ok to serve shop-bought stuff, or at least prepare food in advance and, in the end, our priority is simply to enjoy hanging out and eating with friends.

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