we have a lot of friends.
, not like some, where the christmas card list has 200 people on it. as a matter of fact, i have a client that has a christmas card list with over 1600, that i manage for him. talk about postage!!!
no, we're not that popular but we're well liked in small circles and as such we get invited, and in turn invite, and often break bread with our friends.
now, truth be told, husband and i are good eaters, to which our
individual waistlines will attest. there really isn't much he doesn't like. well, salmon, for one, but only hot. he loves lox and nova, and cold poached salmon in a lovely dill sauce, or salmon salad, (you know, like tuna fish, except for jews). just doesn't care for it hot. ok, that's fine. as for me, i'm
not crazy about lima beans, and scallops are also not my favorite. although if they're in the dish, i'll certainly not pick them out. not weird like that or anything.
growing up, i, as all kids, i'm guessing, was a little fussy about eating. coming from my background, with a mother who was "just a girl who can't say no" to food, to quote rogers and hammerstein, it was almost unacceptable not to eat. but my family was weird. i really didn't like lima beans then, and i especially didn't like grandma's gefilte fish, even though i was told it was the finest in the land, and my father wouldn't eat chicken on tuesday nights, beacause he went bowling after dinner, and in the days before dawn dishwashing liquid, your hands stayed a little greasy no matter what you did, so he couldn't grip the bowling ball, so chicken on tuesdays was out. my brother wouldn't eat beets, because it looked like they were bleeding, my sister wouldn't eat anything fried, for fear she'd end up looking like my mother, so we were quite the little group, actually. but over the years i learned that if it wasn't burnt you could eat it. (and even some burnt stuff as well, you know, like the edges of the burnt cheese on a pizza crust).
so i get it, that people just don't like certain things, and when husband and i entertain we take that into account. i would never serve pulled pork to my vegetarian friends, or fish to a lot of my gay friends, that for some odd reason, won't eat fish. (people, don't go there....). and for the most part we're really good at dinner parties and keeping it all together, i must say.
we have a couple of friends, casual acquaintences really, whom we see once in a blue moon. a gay couple who are really darling, and we thoroughly enjoy their company. one of them, the one that cooks when we visit them and is a very fine chef indeed, is a very good eater. haven't scared him yet. (unless he's so polite as to qualify as disturbed, as he's never said a bad word about our food. well maybe not disturbed, but uncommonly accomodating.) his partner, not so much. i love him more than dessert, but he has, shall we say a few food quirks. he doesn't care for, among many other things:
1. beans of any kind. not beans in chili. not black beans and rice, not refried beans, minestone soup, nada. if it's a bean, it's out.
2. raisins. which leaves out a lot of desserts and certainly a lot of native jewish dishes.
3. solid meat. steak, lamb chops, pork chops, beef stew, chunks of meat. all out. now, hamburger, ground meat in pasta, stir fry with veggies but no solid meat, except for a chicken breast. that somehow is ok. so those are some limitations for the chef, but hey, we love them , and want to spend time with them.
so salads and pasta dishes are in.
several months back, we met another lovely gay man, a single guy, handsome as all getout, and in great shape for a guy our age. this couple about which i speak, and he, became fast friends, and it took us a while to get into that sphere, but over months, we eventually did. he too, has, how can i put this, issues about food. actually more issues than a magazine rack. but alas, his are allergy borne so there's no fucking around. can't slip the salt and pepper into the dip and not tell, even though it's bean dip and we don't tell the other one that won't eat the beans. shhhhhh. there are a lot of things that he'd like to eat but can't. no condiments. that includes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, caraway, fennel, basil, thyme, rosemary, you get the idea. there are nine more jars in my spice rack, but i'll just stop there. unlike the other friend, he'll eat solid food, like a chicken breast or a steak, it just can't be seasoned, or touch the bbq grill that has had a previous salted item on it, etc. ok items are steamed spinach, or any steamed vegetable actually, a grilled chicken breast and a salad with a little lemon juice. they fool him sometimes and toss a little olive oil, because let's face it, god didn't make one creature on this entire planet that's allergic to olive oil. too cruel, even for god. ethiopian starvation? ok. eathquakes in india?, that's fine, thank you very much, but an allergy to olive oil? unacceptable.
so it's our turn to have the couple over, and we decide, let's invite the single guy as well, as they're all friends and it's a good mix. i turn to husband and ask, kind of from a distance, what shall we make? he says, gently, so as not to make me think that this is about me, how the fuck should i know? he's a master, and i know he can do this, but i also know when i say dinner party, he sees pesto, or marinara, or rack of lamb, or moussaka, or cuban festival, and so on. so he takes to his cookbooks, joy of cooking of course, the bible, beautiful tuscany, the italian bible, and the food and wine cookbook, just a great cookbook with lovely food pictures, and he muses for days. well, you see the punchline coming. for the single guy he plans a lovely poached chicken breast, simmered with carrots and onions in the cooking liquid, but no seasoning, (did someone say yum?), plain steamed spinach and salad pulled off of the big salad before it gets dressed.
that's one down. for the rest we start with a hummus appetizer. (oh, i forgot, somehow, garbanzo beans are excluded from the hatred of beans. don't ask.), and some crostini with bruschetta, and some shrimp in a garlic parsely olive oil drizzle, and all is well.
the main course is lasagna, with a hazelnut pesto and light cream and cheese filling, and is served with a dressed salad (from which the single guy's has been removed). desserts were mostly store bought, and then coffee and after dinner liquors. did i mention that the single guy, that doesn't eat, has the best body of all of us? about which i'm definitely jealous, but let's face it, i ain't eating like him. married to my husband, a master, i am simply not eating like that, no matter what you promise i'll look like. fuck it. i love food too much.
so it was a good dinner party, and everyone had plenty to eat, well, almost everybody. the spumoni, and biscotti desserts were good, for store bought. (see earlier blog about the night that the role of the biscotti was played by the mandel bread, actually made by one the above mentioned guests. the chef guy, married to the bean hater).
we don't host all that often, which is ok too. everyone loves when we do, and most reciprocate in kind. but sometimes it's just fun to go out to dinner with your loved ones, and leave the "issues" for the chef at the restaurant.
pass the salt, please.