The Good Part of my weekend, via the magic of a list.
How to have a lovely dinner party, in Sixteen Simple Steps:
1. Infuse two bottles of vodka with fresh ginger, rosemary for a week. Mmmmm
2. Purchase gorgeous (cream brocade= tablecloth), (chocolate brown velvet = runner, other items), (champagne satin = napkins) and other fabrics at a couple of discount stores.
3. Set the table with the good silver and china, lavendar tucked in the napkins, magenta dahlias floating in a pretty dish.
4. Make ginger and nectarine/grapefruit simple syrups, cool in the freezer and store in pretty labeled bottles.
5. Purchase champagne, salad and split-pea soup makings and dessert bites at Trader Joe's, quiches at Costco.
6. Spend far, far to long doing the following: Making oversized namecards for you and eight of your friends (attached with velvet to chairs, natch), perfecting your Rosemary Lemon Drop/Ginger Nip mixology (sampling results), teaching your friend to how to do a pocket fold* with a napkin.
7. Add a heavy dose of candles (different kinds on every surface). Bonus points for not showing any irritation/comforting child when your friends' kid smashes the hell out of a candle/container on an outside stairway. Drink champagne to self-soothe when friends' husband shows you the enormous tarantula he caught at work. The one he was keeping in the bathroom in an open topped five-gallon bucket with live crickets.... until an hour prior to the party, without your knowledge. Where you dried your hair and applied your makeup.
8. Re-style bathroom, furniture, pictures, etc everywhere that shows to good advantage. Drink champagne to cool down.
9. Take seven minute shower, rub makeup and eyeliner on, apply Little Black Dress and heels, 'brush' hair. Sample martini.
10. Quickly pan-sear garlic, large shrimp (stuffed with red peppers and herbed goat cheese) and wrap in proscuitto. Sip martini, mix drinks for guests. Glance outside nervously in the direction of G.T.
11. Greet guests, offer excellent appetizers, ply them with drinks (sip yours), accept accolades on appearance of house. Note that enormous tarantula is being handled by a six year old. Scan for ice packs, spider bite kit.
12. Be married to/friends with someone who plays guitar quite well. Make sure they bring their amp. and new 'dj light', as well as iPod Nano/speaker-things. (This is key, of course. Without this ingredient, you may as well bring out the board games.)
13. Serve soup (homemade), accept lavish praise. Same with salad (candied pecans, onions, green apple, baby herbs *NOT SPINACH!!* Stilton, dried cherries) and quiche (Costco special). Sip martini. Tell witty wedding-related anecdote.
14. Retire to living room with your drink and friends, be entertained by singing/playing of Entertainment d' Nuit. Notice that male guests are quite enraptured with Giant Tarantula, go outside to see what the fuss is about. Timidly stroke G.T., suppress a shudder.
15. Make Entertainment Person continue to play songs on guitar and 'DJ" for you, sip drinks, dance with friends, serve dessert. Completely block Giant Taruantula from your mind.
16. Oh, yeah, here's the other key tip: Have said Dinner Party at your friends' house. Success is yours.
How to do a Pocket Fold: (I realize you have like, totally known that since, like, second graaade, duuhhhhhhh! but figured, just in case there was one of you out there....well, here you go.)
- Start with a square-ish napkin spread out flat.
- Fold top about four inches down (A to B)
- Fold bottom up (C to D) so there is a generous edge that laps over the outside edge that came from the top (A)
- Fold "D" edge (bottom that came up) over/down about an inch. Repeat. You should now be looking at two approximately equal-sized folded 'flaps' with a little inch-wide strip going across the middle of them. There should not be any top/bottom edges showing.
- Holding the 'middle roll' firmly so it doesn't unfold, flip the entire thing over, fold it in thirds.
- You should now be able to slip a flower/silverware/Small Tarantula into your 'pocket'. Now go practice. The first one's always sloppy.