Story telling from Australia
How many times have you heard expressions like, look below the surface, looks don’t matter, never judge a book by its cover, less is more?
When it comes to dinner parties all that flies out my window.
I get worked up before people come over. I worry about the food, naturally, but then I worry about what music to play, how to set the table and what crockery to use. I get anxious.
If it’s casual, it has to be ‘just so’. Everything has to match, and if it doesn’t, it has to look deliberately ‘mis-matched.’ You know the sort of thing. That shabby chic ‘I’ve just cobbled this setting together from old china I found in the back of cupboard look’ that can take hours of fiddling and rearranging.
That’s way too much effort, and when the host is twitchy I suspect it takes away from everyone’s enjoyment of the dinner.
Two nights ago we were invited to a gourmet dinner club. Clyde rang The Royal Hotel, arguably the best hotel in town, to check it would be okay for a vegetarian to attend. He was told, ‘No, we don’t have a gourmet dinner booking.’ It turned out the dinner was being held in the Old Royal Pub. ‘No worries mate, we’re serving steak but there’ll be plenty of salad.’
There must have been at least 40 of us at a long table in the garden and we had a great night, nothing too fancy, just decent food, drinkable wine and good company. It was a fun night. And there was plenty of salad.
That set the scene for last night. We had six people for dinner. The cottage we’ve been renting is lovely but it certainly doesn’t run to fancy china. With only four dinner plates Clyde ate off a serving platter and I used a shallow fruit bowl. Napkins were torn from a roll of kitchen paper and, as the night wore on, we ran out of plates altogether. Cheese was served on saucers. Half way through I realised I’d forgotten to cook the asparagus, so I threw it on the bbq and we ate it with our fingers.
And you know what? We had a blast. We ate, we drank, we chatted and we laughed. We also lingered long past the time I suspect most of us thought we’d finish.
It was the indoor equivalent of a creek bed bbq, and that’s got to be my favourite sort of night.