Friday, February 24, 2006

a grown-up dinner

Most of the dinner parties that Ed and I throw are for friends or family--people our age or people who have known us since we were itsy-bitsy (like our nephew, Carl--did I mention that he's wonderful and adorable?). Tomorrow night, though, we're hosting eight colleagues from the French section of the department, most of whom are our parents' age. I'm not nervous, per se--but I am realizing that I'm trying harder with this dinner than I might for another group. We're even going to break out the wedding china for the very first time! The more I think about it, though, the more tempted I am to chuck the classical music I had planned and elegant table settings and just treat it like any other potluck. (All the guests have offered to bring food to share, and since that's what we've done at past dinners at their homes, I gratefully accepted.)

Here's the Provence-inspired menu: spinach balls and tarragon-marinated mushrooms for appetizers; peach kir as an aperitif; low-fat butternut squash bisque (okay, that's not French, but it's really good and we have a group of extremely healthy vegetarians coming); Nicois pasta with shallots, red wine, goat cheese, olives, and green beans; plus a donated salad and desserts and red wine.

I'll let you know how it turns out and whether or not we decided to break out the paper plates for appetizers and the "Happy Schapps Combo" or the "Yodeling the Classics" albums (we tend to share those whimsies the first time people come to our house) or if we stick with Vivaldi and china after all.

4 Comments:

Blogger tara said...

Do be sure to let us know if it turns into a "beer in the gargoyle" party. :)

2:01 PM  
Blogger lis said...

Definitely bring out the Happy Schnapps Combo--they belong at every party.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Well, we went with the tablecloth and china after all, plus Gershwin and Norah Jones (rather than Mozart and Vivaldi), figuring that with an international crowd of two Frenchies, an Italian, and an elderly Chinese man (retired French prof) that it might take too long to explain the, er, unique culture that "Happy Schnapps Combo" grew out of well enough for everyone to appreciate the humor and whimsy of this Manitowac, Wisconsin polka band which sings odes to hardware stores and beer runs.

Alas, Tara, there was no beer in the gargoyle this time--no beer at all, in fact. But I guess you could say it was an "herbal tea in the saucer" party, as I am a messy pourer.

(Gentle readers: Tara is referring to a rambunctious get-together many years ago in Fort Collins when our friend Gary was making a point so adamantly that he pounded his fist on the floor, which knocked over a stone gargoyle figurine with a hollow area on its back, into which a beer bottle tipped and emptied its contents. Ever since, we've agreed that "a party's not a party until there's beer in the gargoyle!")

10:14 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Some of the guests asked for the mushroom recipe, so as long as I had to type it up, I figured I might as well copy it here:

Mom's Marinated Mushrooms

1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1 T chopped chives
1 t tarragon
1-3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp sugar
1 lb mushrooms, washed and quartered

Mix marinade ingredients; add mushrooms. Marinate 4-5 hours, then drain and serve.

6:41 PM  

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