In food on November 22, 2009 at 5:43 pm
Image by Elin B via Flickr
Great New York Times rant today about the total PITA that some spoiled guests have turned into these days. If you’re someone who loves to cook and to entertain, there are few things more annoying and depressing than the hand-flapping dictum “We don’t eat…”, preceding a princess-y list some people now subject their hosts to before deigning to eat a free meal lovingly prepared.
A few months ago, which really put us off our game for a while afterward, we prepared a terrific salmon recipe from Gourmet. “We don’t eat fish,” the 30-ish married couple, she a friend since she was once of my students years earlier, announced as they sat down. Um, well, that’s actually what’s for dinner. Eat more vegetables and bread, slurp down a little extra wine, and deal.
Your host/ess has worked long and hard, happily, to make an evening s/he hopes will be pleasant and convivial. Turning up your nose at those efforts is just plain rude.
We had a slightly older couple over for dinner this weekend for the first time, always a slightly nervous endeavor these days in light of such fussiness. I asked my standard question before planning the menu about their food allergies or really strong food dislikes. “We eat everything,” she said. And, bless ‘em, including seconds, they did.
In food on October 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm
Image via Wikipedia
Say it ain’t so! Entertaining remains one of my favorite activities. I’d have people to dinner every week if we could afford it. Last Saturday we had three guests for dinner: oysters (a splurge), home-made curried cauliflower soup, roast chicken, ice cream with fruit. The guests (bless ‘em!) brought Champagne and two lovely bars of soap as a hostess gift. They even wrote a thank-you note, on paper, delivered the next day.
We don’t have kids, so entertaining is easy enough and it combines all my favorite things: great food, lively conversation, a leisurely chance to get to know friends better, the chance to set a pretty table and try some new recipes or turn to a trusted stand-by. Lots of candles, fresh flowers, pretty linens. Heaven.
Apparently, not for many others — who have given up entirely, find the whole thing too much work/time/money/intimidating.
Is the dinner party dead? A panel of Guardian foodies weighs in.
In entertainment, women on July 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm
Image via Wikipedia
So the whole idea is pretty funky.
Go to someone’s backyard in Astoria, Queens, (one of the five boroughs of New York City), and eat a meal chosen and prepared by two women you don’t know with 19 people you’ve never met. This is New York, where the style tribes mark their territories with psychic razor wire. Going to a party where you know no one, even in your best mood and wearing your prettiest dress, can send you home in misery as everyone eyes you with disdain for showing up in the wrong clothes/haircut/industry/attitude. So you have to be a little bit brave.
I drove in *&^$#@ circles for 30 minutes around Queens’ barren industrial precincts, running out of gas, trying to read my five-borough atlas at the red lights, wondering if I should just give up and just go home, before I finally found the place. Down a long, really narrow alley and into a postage-stamp cement backyard were 19 strangers gathered for a Saturday evening dinner party. A jam-jar of rose, a piece of homemade tomato tart and a fun woman in an emerald-green wrap jersey top helped calm me down. I was 45 minutes late, but the sun was just setting and the meal had not yet begun. It felt cosy and welcoming, the circular black metal staircase to their second-floor apartment reminding me of Montreal. Read the rest of this entry »