True stories with a twist!


I love to cook. To be honest, I “sort of and sometimes” love to cook.

The every day, day after day drudgery of grocery shopping and meal preparation isn’t much fun. Having to consider everyone in the family’s tastes, likes, and aversions isn’t either. Keeping track of sports and meetings schedules, knowing who will be home and who won’t, takes the joy out of the task also. Nope, every day cooking is no fun. But with company those issues don’t exist. Friends I invite to dinner are generally too polite to complain: not while I’m in earshot, anyway.

No friend will turn her nose up at the meal I set before her or have a tantrum about the menu. No friend will aimlessly shove the food around the plate or surreptitiously feed it to the dog.

But having friends to dinner can be disastrous.

I invited some people over for dinner on a beautiful, cool fall evening. I would wow them with a new recipe I had just found: a fondue. But not an ordinary cheese fondue; my new recipe was a company dish: a seafood fondue. The technique was to heat fish broth in the fondue pot. This hot broth would cook the seafood. I placed a platter of raw fish to spear with fondue forks on the table next to the pot. And an elaborate group on dipping sauces around the fondue pot. It looked very attractive and would be a great conversation getter: comparing flavors of different kinds of fish and which sauces tasted best with what.

The problem was that to get the conversation going the fish had to be cooked. No conversational magic could begin until then. The broth had to be hot. While the heating device under the pot warmed the broth it never did get hot enough to cook anything. So unless I planned to serve an innovative sushi fondue my dinner party was a dreadful failure.

A few comments were made goodheartly at the beginning, but soon stomachs started rumbling and growling. In my panicky state I  looked around the table and suddenly wondered, “Where did these come from?” A group of carry-out menus conveniently and coincidently appeared on the table. Now the conversation became lively with people giving opinions about what kind of food to order for dinner. The party was a success! Everyone was talking. Everyone was happy. Everyone was having a great time.

The story of my ill-fated seafood fondue is still legendary. Although I sort of sometimes love to cook, it’s reassuring to know that a willing carry-out restaurant can be counted on in case of any cooking glitch. THEY love to cook!

Comments on: "DINNER PARTY" (38)

  1. Cathy Lampron said:

    What a lovely story of how human we all are! I’m sure it was a better evening than had the fish been wonderul. It’s great to be able to laugh at yourself!…

  2. I would probably just serve a cheese and veggie platter if that happened to me over here. There are not too many take out restaurants around. 🙂

  3. We all learn from our mistakes…and from your story what did we all learn, Ronnie? We learnt that ‘take outs’ ALWAYS love to cook and that we can ALWAYS count on them in our hour of need! 😉

  4. I’m not fond of cooking but I’m fond of fondue! (Thanks for the heads up on preparing the seafood version. I’ll stick with cheese . . . )

  5. Ronnie, I share your sort-of-sometimes approach to cooking, though having once owned and run a restaurant, I always have a fallback plan. And having lived out in the country most all of my life, it doesn’t involve takeout – but what a great idea for you!

    Day to day, my husband is great – he loves to prep and not have to think about creating a dish. I love creating but prepping can be a chore. So it does make the day to day stuff a lot easier, and usually pretty tasty 😉

    • It sounds as if you and your husband have a working solution, Bela. I think any routine can become boring day after day. Even being a famous super-model. Not that I have personal knowledge of that fact…

  6. Oh dear, well i am sure they still loved ya.. and I so agree with the daily cooking of food for uninterested gobs. I wish there was a pill, you could put on a plate and voila everyone is full and happy.. done.. nope i am still thinking right this minute .. what am i cooking tonight.. c

  7. Ronnie, my disaster meal was a Polish dish, golampki (pigs in the blanket), that I’d cooked many times over the years. Unfortunately, when preparing for my guests to arrive, I forgot to include time to prep … and, then, cook on the stove or in the oven. Dinner was 2 hours late. Like you, I had very gracious guests.
    I wish I would have thought to order take out. 🙂

  8. What a wonderful post…and I love how it all didn’t work out, so that it could all work out! This is a story you will all remember for years to come!! B

  9. A memorable evening enjoyed by all and embellished by many as the years have passed
    All’s well that ends Well(sort of)

  10. As difficult as they may be, you only learn from the mistakes. That’s what makes you better at hosting dinner parties!

  11. elizabeth said:

    I wonder if you marinated the fish overnight in lime or lemon if this recipe might fare better? The fish would be cooked and could be dipped. Mmm, but then maybe it’d flake???

    So glad you all survived and had a good time. 🙂

  12. Don’t give up on the cooking! Keep smiling.

  13. You were brave to try the seafood fondue. Sounded like a great recipe in theory. It’s wonderful to have friends who will roll with the punches and like take-out.

  14. I love to cook and to attend great dinner parties, but I never give them… a hot and cold buffet I find much safer and less work than dashing off into the kitchen… This post made me smile..
    Hope you are well… 🙂
    Sue xx

  15. Good to hear of failures. I have had so many, but I thought I was alone in that:)

  16. A fondue with fish… that has to be a first that has been followed by a take out… Love the story… and I bet the evening was a huge success and never to be forgotton by your friends… love it…

  17. cooking can always go awry even when you know the receipe. You were one brave woman.

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