Let Me Entertain You
One of the things I’m really enjoying about suburbia is entertaining. In New York, people hardly ever have friends over, partly because their apartments are so cramped, partly because they work so hard, and partly because they’ve never learnt to cook. Instead you spend your social time in restaurants and bars and coffee shops where as soon as you’ve finished your food and drink you are expected to move on. You get used to catching up with people in one-and-a-half hour blocks. And to never having to do the dishes after dinner. But that’s not how I roll.
I like to cook and I love to have people for dinner. I think it’s the perfect way to show people that you care about them. So in New York I tried to bring back the dinner party. It wasn’t easy thanks to a table that only sat four, a living room not much bigger than a walk-in wardrobe, and bench space only as big as a bread board (dishes-in-progress had to sit on the floor; dirty dishes had to be done immediately). But the biggest problem was that I was never asked back to other people’s homes (I choose to think that was because of their limited cooking skills rather than my lack of appeal as a dinner guest), which made shelling out lots of cash for catering less appealing over time.
But here entertaining is de rigueur; almost everyone does it. And I’m loving having people to dinner every week.
I’m cooking things I’ve always wanted to try. I’m buying wines I wouldn’t buy just for myself. I’m using all the vintage china I’ve collected over the past 20 years (and smashing a few bits in the process). I’m serving up the pickles and sauces and relishes I made while living at Disco Farm. And I’m making everyone drink my homemade limoncello with dessert (which is leading to some good after-dinner discos and some hefty hangovers).
So what recipes should I try as autumn turns into winter? What are your dinner party staples? What goes well with limoncello? Let me know and I’ll give them a try in the upcoming weeks.