I love throwing dinner parties.
I, however, am not such a fan of throwing dinner parties during the week.
But what can a girl do? A tipsy promise, and I was tied into dinner plans for Valentine's Day. A day that I had originally planned to cook myself steak and watch Gilmore Girls.
I started the prep work on Sunday - no, really, Friday, when I annoyed everyone with my dilemna. What to cook for a group of people, two of whom are vegetarians? Ironically, I pretty much eat vegetarian during the week - not on purpose, mind you, but just because it's easier to pack salads for school. But when faced with the necessity to cook vegetarian - well, I freeze. And dream of meat.
Nigella Lawson, whom I adore, put it better than I ever could:
And I think it tends to be the case that vegetarian food takes more time, more effort than most meat-heavy feasts. It's even more a labor of love if what you want to do is make someone who doesn't eat meat feel comfortable at the table. This is always a difficult area for me. I wouldn't want to be rude, and the idea of inviting someone who doesn't eat eat for dinner and then having the table heaving with flesh, except for some specially wrought, indivdual potion of some veggie-pleaser, however delightful, does make me uncomfortable.So true. And thus, my search for a vegetarian meal.
(Feast, p. 120)
I finally decided on a menu Sunday morning. I bought everything that day also, so I could spend what little free time I had the next two days cooking. Because, you know, I'm still in school and have to do things like turn in 20 pages of fieldnotes, grade 240 short answer questions, and attend class.
But school, schmool.
Monday morning I made honeyed dates.
Monday evening I made lamb meatballs. Now, I hate anything that deals with me having to fry food. I am terrified of hot oil. When I'm at home and my mother wants me to even just pan fry something for her, I wear my sunglasses so that hot oil won't accidentally splatter into my eye. And if I can, I find protective gear for my hands and arms as well. And my parents think I'm weird, but you know, I am their child.
So I started out by chucking little meatballs into a pan of hot oil. (I did ponder donning my sunglasses, but I had already taken out my contacts at that point, and have you tried to wear sunglasses over regular glasses? Yeah. It's a little hard. My nose isn't that big.) I quickly realised that that was a really effective way to make sure that drops of hot oil got all over my kitchen, so I started ladling them in instead. Which really? Worked a whole lot better.
I do know what I said above about meat and cooking for vegetarians. However, I felt like this was okay, because the meatballs were small and cute and an extra, not really part of the main meal.
Tuesday afternoon I got a pedicure. Sorry, unrelated to cooking, but my toes finally look decent again.
Tuesday evening, I started on the vegetable stew.
Now, all of this is overlaid, naturally, by the drama of the situation. You see, the singer, for some reason, decided to go back to the East coast in between his two LA shows. Who knows why. He's male. Now, over the weekend, I'm sure you heard how UNTOLD AMOUNTS of snow dropped on the East coast. So he got stuck there, and was supposed to come back to LA on Sunday. (We were still going to have the dinner regardless, of course. I just needed to know for how many I was cooking.)
Sunday, he was not here.
Monday, he was not here.
Tuesday - was he here or not?
We weren't sure. My friend had called him Monday night, asking him to call us back, but no word. As late as 6pm, there was still no word. So we called the place he was playing at, and wouldn't you know? They said he was still going on.
Oh, how that made our blood boil. He was IN TOWN and didn't have the decency to call us back?
So we plotted. And here are the different plans of actions we came up with:
- We could just forget about him and forget about the show and have dinner with everyone else - minus the singer and his manager, of course.
- We could show up at the show and mention dinner, and see if he was still interested.
- We could show up at the show and mention dinner but purposefully and obviously NOT invite him (this one was my idea).
- There was a fourth option but I forget it now.
I'll tell you on Friday!