Meal Planning

Hosting a Dinner Party When You Have ADHD—What Could Go Wrong?

When I host a dinner party, chances are the meal may not be on schedule, or even edible. Here are my easy-to-swallow nuggets of wisdom for attending or hosting an ADHD meal — served with a side of humor.

woman with ADHD burns dinner, gets frustrated in the kitchen as she prepares to host a dinner party
cartoon illustration of frustrated looking woman in kitchen with mess and food burning in pan

I love to cook, even though I’m the slowest chef I know. Before taking medication, I would struggle to get a meal on the table within an hour of my guests arriving. Sometimes they’d knock on the door and I’d be in the shower. Other times, I was checking my e-mail, not slicing and dicing.

If you ever accept an invitation to dinner from someone who has ADHD, especially one who isn’t taking meds, keep the following in mind:

  • Have a light meal before arriving. There’s no guarantee dinner will be close to ready.
  • Bring your wallet. Should you arrive and find your host in tears, smoke alarms going off, and no meal in sight, you could be going out to dinner — possibly on your dime.
  • Don’t worry if the cook is not eating her own food. She’s probably been grazing during all those hours of whisking and braising.
  • Bring your favorite antacid.

[Free Handout: Become a Small-Talk Superstar]

I also have advice for fellow adults with ADHD, who may think that throwing a dinner party will give them the stimulation they crave:

  • Reconsider.
  • Write down your grocery list. On your arm, if you must — so you don’t forget a key ingredient.
  • Jump on the raw food bandwagon. It saves time on cooking, and you’ll be considered a trendsetter.
  • Invest in a food processor. And say good-bye to prep work. Throw in the food and push the button. It’s worth the money.
  • Have a glass of wine or two while you cook. If the meal is hours late, you won’t care that your guests have been socializing in the other room forever. If they know you well, they probably brought along some snacks.

[The Goof-Proof Guide to Entertaining]