Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Disasters In Dining

Written by Patti on September 10th, 2009

By now, I guess you have figured out that not all goes swimmingly with every party. I thought I would lighten the mood today with some of my past dinner disasters. No doubt Martha Stewart would concur that not everything goes as planned….

One of my most favorite mini disasters happened when Eric and I lived in a tiny apartment in Tampa and we had invited a co-worker of his to dinner. I had planned a lovely pork tenderloin…that was not cooperating. Instead of freaking out, I decided we should turn the dinner upside down – by starting with dessert. Everyone was decidedly happy and the party was saved.

Another night, same apartment. I had invited one of my best girlfriends for a special dinner in her honor. She brought her two daughters, whom I have known since they were babies. The menu included stuffed clams and veal medallions. Guess what two foods in the world my little darlings refused to eat? You guessed it….clams and veal. A lot of garlic bread was consumed that night.

I’ve already told you of my silly plan to make mini pizzas for a huge party, my pasta problem (thank goodness for Via Elisa!) and the paella fiasco. But there’s more.

Recently, I made a baba ganoush requested by my darling Eric. I have never made baba ganoush before, but how hard could it be? It turned out so bitter, I could not eat it. But not Mr. Eric – he thought it was yummy.

In my early years, I was nothing but kitchen disasters. The first one I can recall is when I was around 10 years old and thought I could make hot chocolate in the tea kettle. As you can imagine, my poor mother was scrubbing hot chocolate off the ceiling for years. Sorry, Mama!

Once, thinking that chocolate covered homemade marshmallows would trump plain ole homemade marshmallows, I dunked said marshmallows in hot, melted chocolate. What I ended up with was quite the melty mess.

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, but one year, after making a gorgeous prime rib roast, shrimp stuffed baked potatoes and brandied mushrooms for ten, the kitchen sink wouldn’t drain and our dear landlord was in Missouri. For two weeks. Not my finest hour for sure.

I could go on and on, but I will end with the most hilarious kitchen disaster of all. The college birthday cake massacre. My darling friend Vickie and I decided we would bake a cake for our dear friend Donna’s birthday. In these days, baking from scratch meant a jiffy cake mix, which we made and seemed fine. But the cake needed icing, so we whipped out the powdered sugar and mixed it with some milk and put it on the cake. The cake soaked up every bit of icing…what to do? Check the fridge – we have some frozen blueberries! That will be pretty! Time to decorate the cake with those charming candy letters from our childhood. Happy Birthday – check! Donna…not so much. Clumsily we broke all the letter Ds, Os and Ns….what are we going to do now? Vickie, the ever creative, came up with this cake greeting – “Happy Birthday Virgil Ray”…which caused a laughing fit the likes I have yet to see again. We laughed so hard we were laying on the floor, holding our stomachs.

There is hope for all who aspire to bake and cook. Keep trying and let me know how you are doing.

xoxo, Patti


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