It's nearly a week since my first-ever dinner party and I'm still basking in the glory of my success -- and fretting about things I might have done differently.
Some curious friends have requested more nitty gritty details from Saturday night (and the lead-up to the big event), so here goes:
The morning of the dinner party, I began to fret about the fact that I didn't have soup bowls to match the dishes I had rented.
"Just use our regular bowls. Nobody will notice," said Avo.
"But they don't match."
"Who will notice?"
"They'll notice that our dishes are cream colored and the rental dishes are white," I whined.
"Who cares? It's about the food, right?"
I tried to explain that presentation had really begun to matter to me.
"I remember when my parents had dinner parties when I was a kid. They always had enough matching dishes and silverware," I said. But since Avo didn't grow up in the suburbs, he didn't get what I was fussing about.
Then, just in time to hear me kvetch, Dori called. I vented to her about my bowl dilemma.
"You rented a table and dishes?!" she asked, incredulously.
Yep, and apparently, I forgot to rent bowls.
"I don't think anyone is expecting this to be as fancy as it's going to be," she reassured me. Again, Dori did not grow up in the suburbs.
I decided to be Zen about it and "let go" of the bowls. Later, when the time came to serve the stew, people had drunk enough wine and were so engrossed in conversation that I don't think anyone noticed the non-matching bowls.
By afternoon, I was antsy to get outside and enjoy the spring-like weather, but I was too busy sauteing bacon, peeling carrots, and halving Brussels sprouts to take a break.
Since we had decided to dress for the occasion, Avo broke out one of his dad's "vintage" jackets and promptly ripped a seam. Meanwhile, the girls had fun throwing Avo's ties up in the air and trying to catch them.
Meanwhile, even though I bought a ton of Brussels Sprouts, it wasn't looking like enough to feed 12 people.
"Hopefully, people will fill up on cheese and crackers," I told Avo. "Don't eat too much, okay?"
It turned out that we had just enough food -- which means that probably we could have used some more.
When I asked one guest if he wanted more stew, he replied "Are there any more courses coming?"
When I said "no," he said "then I'll have more stew."
I thought six pounds of beef would be enough for 12 people. At least we had leftovers baguettes, so I could send guests home with a parting gift.
Luckily, the one thing I got completely right was inviting the perfect mix of people. Even though most of the guests had never met each other before, they found amazing connections and had no problem keeping up the lively conversation.
The guests spanned the globe -- we had a Brit, a Romanian, and an Argentinian. We also boasted natives from all five of New York's boroughs, including Staten Island.
Most impressively, two folks actually schlepped to our place all the way from Manhattan. Now that's dedication!