Over Easter weekend, my godmother had a casual dinner party... for 25 of us. The four families that made up most of the group (mine included) have been friends for decades, so we always have a blast getting together, and dinner at her house in Charleston has becoming something of a (wild) tradition. Needless to say, we always plea with Nancy to let us bring something or help out, but she is ever gracious and seems to pull these large dinners off as if she were throwing together a meal for two.
I've mentioned her chili before, which is always a safe bet when feeding a large group. This year, however, we had lasagna. Yes, she made lasagna for 25, which included a handful of growing and hungry 20-something boys, and acted as if it was no big deal. At one point, a guest noticed that Nancy was pulling out the multiple lasagnas... and was absolutely stunned to see that they were all homemade. Cool as a cucumber, Nancy responded: "Well of course. The way I see it, I could have used store-bought lasagna and served it on my china, or I could make the lasagna myself and use paper plates. I hate washing dishes."
And there you have it, folks. How to pull off a dinner party for 25? Pick your battle - cooking or dishes.