Getting there is half the fun. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m getting ready to entertain. There are always things that go wrong or turn out differently than I expected. So if I don’t have a sense of humor or a sense of adventure, I know I’ll be in trouble.
One of the craziest and most fun parties we put together was for my mother’s ninetieth birthday. The challenge was that there was no usable kitchen and no counter space for the prep. In order to make it work I had to plan everything ahead of time and have it ready to assemble once we got to her home. That was the easy part.
The only spot we could use for set-up was a storage closet full of boxes—no table, but lots of boxes! The three of us—my sister, my niece, and myself—found spots in the closet to put the coolers, open up the platters, and set about putting together the hors d'oeuvres. It’s a good thing we were determined, because the harder we worked, the hotter the closet got. Every time someone opened the door to take a finished platter out to the table, they found us laughing at the absurdity of the whole thing.
It was obvious that baking a cake was not going to happen, so we sent my husband, Mark, out to purchase one. We expected him to come back with one large chocolate cake (my mother’s favorite). Instead he returned with four cakes, each a different flavor and each with one word written on it: Happy, 90th, Birthday, Monique. My sister and I looked at the four cakes, ready to be disappointed because it wasn’t what we expected and then we saw how great it was—brilliant actually. With four cakes, everyone got to choose their favorite. The idea was so great we repeated it again on her ninety-fifth birthday!
As crazy as this party was, it worked! The food was wonderful, everybody had a great time, and my mother was delighted. All it took was an amazing amount of organization, a willingness to laugh at the absurdity, and a desire to have fun.
What about you?
Have you put together crazy parties? Did you laugh or cry?
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This week, I’m thinking about the trials and tribulations of entertaining—especially my disasters in the kitchen and, believe me, I’ve had quite a few.
I once made this great rice dish . . .