How to make lockdown dinners more interesting

There is something comforting about sitting down for a nice dinner. For those of us in confinement, this is one of the little joys that we can still easily enjoy.

To bring some novelty to dinner time lately, Jannine Graham and her partner Julia have come up with a game.

Each week, they pick a country at random, then plan a themed dinner with food, music, and drinks.

“It sounds really cheesy, but it gives you something to look forward to,” she says.

Besides the food, it’s also nice to research. Jannine and Julia love to travel and they love to discover new places that they might one day visit.

Jannine and Julia Iranian themed dinner.(



So far they have cooked dishes from Switzerland, New Zealand and Iran. One of Jannine’s favorite new discoveries has been Benediktiner Eintopf, a beef and leek dish that they discovered while looking for Swiss dishes.

“It was onions, leeks, mince and broth. It was really simple. It didn’t look great, it looked a little unappetizing to be honest, but it was in. makes delicious, ”she says.

For their Iran-themed dinner, Jannine and Julia made Morqh-e Zafaran – grilled lemon-mint chicken – with a cucumber, mint, and almond salad.

The verdict?

“It was really delicious,” Jannine says.

“[We] will definitely do again. The Iranian soundtrack was also very good. “

Recreate a restaurant atmosphere at home

One thing that can bring a bit of novelty to dinner time is music. Jannine and Jane have created special playlists for their country-themed dinners.

This is something my colleague Matt Garrow, video producer for Melbourne-based ABC Everyday, also found useful.

“My partner and I bought an Italian seafood meal at a local restaurant in our area, and I was like ‘why don’t we play traditional music from this area?’” He says.

“We were trying to pretend we were in a cafe or restaurant, so we found music with the sound of the crowd to help set the mood.”

Thanks to YouTube, it wasn’t hard to find something that matched the bill.


“If you think about it too much, it becomes too depressing,” he says.

“If you don’t think about it and just let the sound flow through the room, it kind of becomes a background thing.

“You log in automatically – you subconsciously go back to where you chose to go. That said, the first time we tried it, halfway through the playlist, the Godfather’s music popped up, which was pretty funny. “

Bethia smiles as she sits at a dining table with a Japanese meal.
Matt and his partner Bethia (pictured) tried to freshen up dinner time during the lockdown(



Fancy glasses, candles and other tips for preparing special meals

Besides music and cooking new recipes, there are plenty of other ways to bring that extra touch of occasion to the dinner table.


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