Resurrecting The Dinner Party

Much like the handwritten note, dinner parties planned by young adults seem to have become obsolete. Trader Joe's launched a two-city campaign in an effort to revive the dinner party ritual and hawk its ever-changing store menu.

The grocery store partnered with Stick and Move to create "The Lost Art of the Dinner Party," a booklet containing dinner themes, music recommendations and suggestions on how to efficiently organize a stress-free dinner party.

Ten thousand booklets located at the store's checkout registers were distributed in two test markets -- Philadelphia and Chicago -- starting last week. If the response is positive, the booklets will be distributed nationally.

Philadelphia and Chicago were selected as test markets based on the cities' young populations and how well established the brand is in both cities.

The booklet contains illustrations (seemingly circa the Pride and Prejudice era) of dinner table scenes coupled with modern-day pictures of food, drink and themed accessories.

Mexican, Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern and Cajun/Creole are the three food schemes suggested, although the Mexican theme is the only one that highlights more than a handful of products -- among them mini beef tacos, shredded beef burritos, calabacita quesadillas, spiced tortilla chips, and Southwest salsa with cucumber and jicama. The remaining two themes highlight more generic offerings such as olive oil, spices, kalamata olives, and pita bread.

Stick and Move said that the number of products highlighted in the booklet is minimal due to the stores' frequent product shuffling.

Trader Joe's also created a dinner party music mix for each theme that's available online.

Trader Joe iMixes feature between 20 and 22 songs per theme, and better yet, all, or some songs can be downloaded from the iTunes Music Store via the Trader Joe's site.

The booklet closes with a picture of a fire alarm and solutions to hypothetical situations that may arise during your dinner party. Too many people show up? Turn a side salad dish into a more substantial meal. Text-messaging guest got you down? Pass them the salad with a side of dirty look. Someone starts a food fight? Yeah, like that'll happen.

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