Monday, October 23, 2006

The dinners

I cooked all day Friday - missing the great Book-Off, part of the Wisconsin Book Festival - I was in the car, with all the lasagne at 3:30, thinking I'd stop in and be there in time to see the winner, at 4:30 -

"Sarah Plummer, a graduate student in the [UW-Madison] graphic arts department, ultimately won the competition with a fanciful book that looked a lot like an old-fashioned box camera. The reader could peer through the lens of the book and watch night turn to day." Heather Lee Schroeder, Madison Capital Times
But the university was selling the spots in my campus parking lot, so I could not easily pull in and go to the theater where the book event was held.

Instead, I headed directly to the house intending to drop off the lasagne - all 7 - and that was when I realized the full inadequacy of the apartment sized fridge there - I took the last pan back home, because that little fridge could never chill that volume of pasta.

Saturday: full house, John & Jake helping, underestimated on the appetizers and they demolished them; I also underestimated on the lettuce, ran out and had to send John to retrieve the made-up salads, so I could steal a leaf here, leaf there, get enough lettuce for the last 5 salads; I thought the main courses went out too slow because I was trying to heat a giant casserole of the green beans in the microwave, and they were not getting hot (my mom's combo Italian, DeLonghi, microwave/counter-top convection oven) and the plug it was plugged in on turned out to be on the same circuit as the dehumidifier in the basement - when the dehumidifier cycled on, the circuit breaker tripped - John figured it out, yay John - but smiles all round, everyone loved it, no one thought the pacing was off but me.

Sunday, less than half as many people, Mark helping, Ken & Jo came early and entertained us while we set up - except for saying "shoulda brought my guitar" Ken was real nice about the lack of music (I did not provide because whenever I play music during a party at home everyone says it's too loud) - much more calm and relaxed, lots of apps leftover.

Both nights, I went out and sat for a while at each table during dessert - quite fun, had a chance to chat with different people.

Next up - simple soup supper in January, when we are all feeling broke and overfed from the holidays. Maybe a latke party in December? but how to shoehorn that in with the cookie party and everything else ... vegan Valentine's in February, foraging lunches when the farmers' market starts in the spring.

On Saturday I kept saying that I regretted planning the 2nd dinner, but on Sunday morning I went over to fold napkins and already I was looking forward to people coming to the house again. It is such a nice space. I had to re-make more green beans, this time the co-op had some, and I just used Muir Glen canned tomatoes, instead of my own frozen ones from the CSA box. And had to wash a bunch more lettuce, 4 bunches at $2.99 a head at Whole foods, grrr; and buy more goat cheese (and I could not get the honey goat that made the Saturday salads so good - I have to order it online, which doesn't make too much sense to me - it is a Belgian cheese from the Walloon-speaking region of Belgian, and I thought we had the largesy settlement of Walloon-speaking Belgians outside of Belgium in WI...) and more olives.

We got two inches of snow on Saturday night.

I got a Flickr account for the pictures - they are all basically "before" views, before anyone came over, even before the tables were set.


dashap said...


Deb's Lunch said...

hey, I learned how to do this on Saturday, and with my bro's & Julia's good advice ("never apologize") - when the people cheer, you smile and take a bow, and say Thank-you