Dinner Party

Look at me, posting almost on time-ish. Sure I might be a week off, but whatever, we’re in the neighborhood. So in the spirit of trying to curate useful lessons instead of bitching and moaning, I come bearing thoughts on last weekend’s (mis)adventures.

Friday, I hosted a couple of friends for a three-person dinner party, which was really just cooking, talking, eating, and the preamble that led up to the night. That being said, it was a surprisingly informative evening.

Lesson 1: Navigation

Michael and I had some stops to make in advance of obtaining Alex. These stops were in Denver. That meant Google Maps. As aforementioned, Google Maps is my primary anxiety squelcher when driving, however, it isn’t flawless. Due to not being the best with spatial orientation, as well as second guessing myself, I regularly miss weird or unlabeled turns. This is particularly true because streets often lack signs or have different names than the ones on the app. And it doesn’t always look like you’re there yet on Google Maps until you’ve already passed it. I did this, I shit you not, 6 times on Friday between our four stops. And it turned out the first shop we were hitting was permanently closed, so that was fun. Now, a good way to avoid this in the future would be to view the entire route and map before you start driving, rather than just hitting start and heading off. I plan to do this next time. Also, and this is a must for city driving, add ten to thirty minutes to your estimated travel time to compensate for missed turns, people not letting you over, traffic, and reroutes.

Lesson 2: Materialism

When you pick a friend up from a bar after they’ve had a little too much time to wait on you, double-check that they have all their possessions before leaving. When I snagged Alex, he spaced and left his bag at the bar. It didn’t even occur to me that he should have had one. I typically double-check my own stuff religiously but only ask after others’ when they’re leaving my house. Obviously, this isn’t your responsibility, but it is helpful, polite, and time-saving.

Lesson 3: Social Shopping

If you are having a dinner party it can be enjoyable to do the shopping together. It can also be a complete headache. This latter part is more likely when you haven’t determined what you’re making, who is paying for what, and only have 20 minutes until the store closes. So, the advice here is to have a plan. Before the day of the event, have everyone communicate about food preferences and restrictions. Make a menu. It doesn’t have to be complicated. As for paying for the meal, if you aren’t treating your friends, just have one person buy everything, divide it mostly evenly then have the others pay that person. Now, the trick here is if you want to just split the total, you cannot buy other groceries when you buy the meal food (a mistake I made) and since you’ll be keeping the leftovers, you should likely still pay a bit more. If you hate math enough, you could do an even split then split the leftovers into doggie bags. And, of course, get to the store with plenty of time to spare.

Lesson 4: New Recipes

When preparing a new recipe, be sure to fully strategize and analyze it. We were going to make bison when my friend, who had bought bourbon, insisted on bourbon bison. I hate bourbon, but he proclaimed it would all cook off. It’s important to note here that I also lack experience cooking meat (let’s be real, cooking meat is a nasty process) since I can eat it only sparingly. We used dad’s George Foreman grill, which the friend in question, who said he would handle the bison, had never used before. He said we could do it on there and then pan fry it with the bourbon and figs. Well, that did not work out. The grill cooked it twice as fast as expected, leaving it overcooked in the pan but not cooked long enough to cook off any of the bourbon. I gave half of mine to him and barely touched the figs. So, the lesson here is two-fold. 1. Do not let friends override your preferences, particularly if it’s on the main course. 2. When marinating meat, you really should do it the night before, and only cook the meat one way unless you know how to get fancier. In our case, we should have only cooked it in the pan. And used less bourbon. Or, ya know, no bourbon.

Lesson 5: Hygiene

Keep spare toiletries on hand for friends. I usually do this, but I donated all of my spare toothbrushes and toothpaste a couple months ago. On Friday, I did manage to find one that is a replacement for the one I keep in my purse. I’ll have to get a new one, but it worked in the moment.

Alright, lessons learned hopefully. This blog is briefer than the last, but honestly, that may not be a bad thing. As always, hit me with questions or comments below.
-L.

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