image

Let Me Entertain You!

I love to entertain. I love to cook and I love it when people like my cooking. I think nothing of throwing together a meal for fifteen. Or fifty. When I was chair of our yacht club’s race committee, I hosted a Christmas party for all the volunteers. One year we had close to seventy people. I served tenderloin, caesar salad and roasted potatoes. It was awesome.

The best was my brother’s wedding. The ceremony, held at the beach down the street, was delayed by hours as the justice of the peace, along with a bunch of guests, was stuck in awful traffic. Afterward, starving, we all came back to the house for grilled pork roast, farro risotto and salad for seventy five. We had such a wonderful evening!

My approach is pretty simple. I ask myself, what’s the worst that can happen? Then I go from there. A little like Shirley MacLaine throwing a picnic at Downton Abbey. Ok, a little side trip. I need to ask you. Who was harder to watch on Downton–Shirley MacLaine or Elizabeth McGovern? And didn’t you love Edith in the end? Sybil was always my favorite, though and I resented those hussies trying to move in on Tom.  But I digress.

One year early in our marriage, we were hosting my husband’s extended family for a get-together, probably forty people expected. I made the Silver Palate chicken marbella. Do you remember that recipe? One of the first real foodie dishes. It was chicken and prunes and olives in brown sugar and vinegar all mixed up then spread out in a baking dish and roasted. So delicious. I need to make that again soon.

I put everything together in giant trash bags. Tossed it all around, then turned the contents into four baking dishes and put them all into the oven. Which promptly died. No problem, this was one of those old-timey ranges with a small upper oven, so I just moved one of the trays to that oven. Which also promptly died.

i remembered my neighbors were away and I had a key to their house. I would just use their oven! All I needed to do was get the four trays of Chicken Marbella from my kitchen to theirs. In a torrential downpour.

With some umbrellas and help from my sister-in-law we successfully transported, cooked, and brought the trays back to the party. Which had grown unexpectedly as one relative brought along something like eight extra guests. No worries! The more the merrier! And we had plenty of Chicken Marbella to go around

Does this qualify for the worst that could happen? Of course not. Yet I cannot imagine a situation where the joy of being with my friends and family would be outweighed by badly cooked or non-existent food.

How about you? Any entertaining horror stories?