Road Foodie

Some people drive simply to arrive.

Gotta Give, Part Deux

Posted By on July 10, 2009

Is there a hint of class resentment in those baby-blues?

C grills manouri. Is there a hint of class resentment in those baby-blues?

(Please see Part One, below).
C and I have been taking bets about the apartment. He’s sure it’ll be an over-the-top penthouse. There’s only one oven, and the hostess did mention keeping the food costs reasonable, so I’m banking on a smaller, but still plenty gorgeous, abode (or maybe a Madoff victim). I win. The apartment is small but impeccably outfitted. The relatively diminutive kitchen glistens but boasts no apparent pastry brush, one thing I had not packed. But the lamb is gorgeous! I paint it with some of the luminous green chimichurri made this morning with herbs from the garden, and set to work rummaging in cupboards for bowls and platters, assembling the lobster spoons and crostini, blanching the French beans, and discussing the order of play with the hostess, who is, understandably, quite keen that the party be a success.

The manouri is grilled. I have to be restrained from eating it on the spot.

I have to be restrained from eating the grilled manouri on the spot.

It transpires that the adorable Dominican housekeeper is too shy to serve drinks, so C gets stuck with taking cocktail orders, as well as wine service at the table (the guests are packed in so tight that neither host nor hostess will be able to budge for glass-replenishing). Everyone arrives right on time, and C and I fall into a ballet, passing one another through the swinging door to the kitchen, keeping an eye on glasses and plates, sensing the mood of the hostess and guests, and just generally making it all seem seamless. (Catering is actually soooo much easier than hosting your own sit-down, five-course dinner for ten, because you don’t have to worry about keeping the conversational ball afloat.)

The atmosphere in the dining room is convivial, but oddly reminiscent of an E.F. Hutton commercial: As soon as Mr Soros begins to speak, conversations skid to a halt, forks freeze in midair, and heads swivel toward him.

Caramel cheesecakes just before the Hawaiian orange salt garnish.

Caramel cheesecakes, just before the application of Hawaiian orange salt garnish.

Our hostess is trying to remember that we are not, actually, paid service-people, but rather an author and actor/director, but she lapses a few times and I can sense a glimmer of populist rage beneath C’s twinkling blue eyes. Appropriate, considering the re-purposed crostini bases. It matters little, because by 10pm, due to the smiling, unending assistance of the housekeeper, the kitchen is glistening once again, my spoons and ramekins and spices are packed, and we’re ready to roll down to the village for an exceedingly large cocktail, and then bed. Of course, then it takes half an hour for the doorman to send up the service elevator. (Go out through the front door? Sacre bleu!!)
Just because I know HOW to cater doesn't mean I have to DO it.

Just because I know HOW to cater doesn't mean I have to DO it.

Notes to Self:
1. In future, I will continue to raise money for worthy causes, but cooking classes—with me, always a laugh-riot—will prevail over dinners.
2. Do not serve Chinese porcelain soup spoons to groups that include women; they find opening their mouths wide enough to cram in the spoon to be un-ladylike.
3. You are no longer twenty-five. Never again view a return to catering as a potential refuge in an economic downturn.


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