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!