Sunday, 7 October 2007

The Dinner Party Meme

One of my favourite activities is hosting/attending dinner parties. I find them a great opportunity to try new food, drink a little, frequently meet new people and generally have a great time. I also find that you can learn a lot about the host. It is this fact that has given me the idea for this meme. The opportunity to learn a little more about my friends in the bloggesphere.

The idea is to work your way through the eight phases of the dinner party, answering all of the questions on the way - being as honest and creative as you wish. Once your homework has been completed, please nominate any number of bloggers to host their very own "virtual" dinner party.

1) The Dinner Party Theme:
You have decided to hold a dinner party. When writing the invites you clearly state that fancy dress must be worn. Assuming that cost is no issue, who or what would you dress up as, and why?

My initial thought was going to be Indiana Jones with his Khaki Clothes, hat and whip.... but as I spend most of my travelling time in that type of gear, I thought I'd go for something different. After long deliberation, I have decided that I would probably dress up as Philip Marlow, with the long raincoat - "Tall, and big enough to take care of himself, he likes liquor, women, reading, chess and working alone, and is educated enough that he boasts he can speak English
if he's required to...." (plus I think I would look better in a black & white, dimly lit, smoke filled!)

Although, knowing me I'd probably end up looking more like Peter Falk in "Columbo" - not that that is a bad thing.

2) The Invitations:

This dinner party is for 6 people (including yourself), you are allowed to invite any 5 other people (either past, present, real or fictional), who would you invite and why?

Oskar Schindler - After visiting Auschwitz Concentration Camp last year and being so terribly disturbed by what I saw - I would love to meet this man and thank him for the things he did and the risks he took. I would dearly love to share a meal with him and pour him a drink.

Ernest Shackleton - This man is one of my heros. He is remembered today for his expedition to the Antarctic from 1914 - 1916. The expedition met many difficulties and disasters, but because of his intelligent crew selection (focused as much on the personalities of individuals as their skills) the expedition ended up a success. I would love to hear about the expedition, his understanding of human character and most importantly about his motivation & determination.

Billy Connolly - Simply one of the funniest men on earth. Somebody who could keep everybody laughing for hours - not a dry eye in the house. An absolute must for any dinner party.

Emmeline Pankhurst - Firstly she is a distant relative of mine. Secondly, she is a lady who has not only had a profound effect in the UK with her suffragette movement, but has had a profound effect around the world. I would love to hear some of her anecdotes from her fight to give women the right to vote.

Amelie - from the film Amelie. A person who feels like they are going through life unnoticed, but is actually somebody who is making a significant impact on the lives of many.

So, that would be my group of 5. Mostly real people, all full of stories to tell, all that have in a large or small way had an affect on my life, inspiration or just simply made me smile.

3) The Starter:
You are preparing the menu, which dish(es) would you choose as the starter, and why?

I would have two starters of choice....

The first would be caramelised slow cooked belly of pork served in a lettuce leaf - it is a great starter that is bursting with rich flavours and certainly gets the appetite going. The colour is a rich caramelised brown, that has a contrast against the green of the lettuce leaf and a melt in the mouth texture

My second option as a starter would be a small bowl of seafood chowder with a slice of homemade bread. Light, yet flavoursome. Leaving the guest satisfied but still enough room for the main course.

Of course, there would be a glass of champagne for everybody to accompany the course

4) The Main Course:
Okay, now for the main course? and what drink would you serve with it?

I would have to say that I would choose a fish dish as the main course. I am completely addicted to Sea Bass at the moment. I was in a restaurant a few weeks ago and had an oven cooked Sea Bass, with a crunchy salted skin served with boiled new potatoes and al dente vegetables.... Mmmmm I can taste it now. The reason I would choose this dish is that the starter and sweet are potentially quite rich, so it would be nice to have a clean main course.

Now, it is a common myth that White wine should be poured when eating fish, so I would choose a fruity Chablis. However, I am very much a red wine lover, so would also have a nice full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon - by far my favourite type of wine.

5) The Sweet:
Finally, the sweet. Which would you choose, and why?

This one is easy... but again there are two choices.

The first choice would be Crème brûlée. The reason for this choice is that it has many levels. Firstly, as the brûlée is served your senses are hit with the sweet caramel aroma. Then the senses are hit again with the wonderful golden colour... and it doesn't stop there. Tapping the top of the brûlée with the back of the spoon to crack the sugar glaze is probably one of the worlds most pleasurable sounds... finally dipping the spoon into the soft crème and taking the first mouthful.... Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

The second choice would be the cheese board - for those that fancy a little nibble, this is quintessentially the nicest way to finish a meal.

Of course, it would not end there.... at the end of the meal there is always the glass of port, hot rich coffee accompanied by a single chocolate truffle

6) The Entertainment:
The dinner party has gone swimmingly, everybody has had fun, conversation and drinks have been flowing all evening. At the end of the meal you announce that everybody should perform their 'party piece' (no matter how strange or pointless). What party piece would you perform?

The obvious answer to this one would to bore everybody to death with my own anecdotes from my trips around the world. However, I would not wish this on anyone... So I'll have to think of something else.

Well, I can't sing, I can't dance... I tried juggling once, but as soon as I used more than one ball, it all went wrong!!!! I have some great mind reading card tricks, that always bring a smile to peoples faces at the end of meals, so would probably do them. At least the "how did he do that?" will keep them entertained for a few minutes.

7) The End Of The Evening:
The party is over, everybody has gone home, the house suddenly feels empty and quiet. Your eyes fix on the hi-fi in the corner of the room. You search through your CD collection to put on some music as you want to listen to one more track before your retire to bed. Which track would you play?

I don't know about you, but I hate the end of dinner parties. After laughing and enjoying myself throughout the evening, I usually get to the point where I don't want it to end. I always find that when I close the door after the last person leaves, the house always seems empty. Likewise, when I leave a party and make my way home, everything seems soooooo quiet. My initial thought was going to be "all by myself" by Harry Nilsson, but decided that that was a far to melancholy way to finish a great evening.... so I put that CD back on the shelf and chose "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed and friends. (press play on the playbox to listen to the track)

As the music starts, I pour the remains of the Cabernet Sauvignon in to my glass, lean back on the sofa and put my feel up. Mmmmmmmmm, the perfect evening.

8) The Dinner Party Nightmares:

Okay, so the "virtual" dinner party is over. Now for the real thing. Have you ever been to or hosted a dinner party during which something has gone wrong (either with the food, a guest or something else)?

I have racked my brains and can't think of anything that has been catastrophic at a dinner party. The two unfortunate things that have happened to me are... 1) I had to stop and get some petrol (gas) on the way to a BBQ one evening several years ago. Unfortunately, as I pulled the nozzle from the car, some of the petrol dripped out onto my clothes. I spent the rest of the evening smelling of fuel.

The second unfortunate thing was when I held my first dinner party. One of the girls at work got upset because I hadn't invited her, so being Mr Nice I said she could join the others at my house. What I didn't realise and she didn't tell me, was that she was a vegan - and I had cooked roast beef as the main course. Well, I now make sure that I ask all my guests what they do/don't eat, before I select the menu.

So, that's my "Virtual" dinner party

Now for the nominations:

The people who I would like to hear about are (and I am going to try and pick people from different locations):

Muse at Xanadu(America)

Zhu at Correr Es Mi Destino (Canada)

Rachel at A Little Bit Of Rachel (Holland)

Linda at Linda and Her Surroundings (Australia)

Choc at Choc Mint Girl(Malaysia)

Azzitizz at The Totally Transparent Party (England)

DP at Deadpool's Laughing Den (Some other planet.... but occasionally from Greece)

Daszzle at Something To Smile About (America)

Plus, anybody else who would like to try their hand at hosting a "virtual" dinner party. If you do, please be sure to post a comment so that I can stop by and have a read.

Finally, I just want to apologise for not completing the memes that have been sent to me over the past few
weeks. I promise to complete them very soon (sorry Linda and Choc).


no more said...

now that was an interesting meme. And yet, very intimidating. I've never been to a real dinner party so I have no idea what goes on from the foods to the conversation. Yes i've attended a party but none where everyone sat down and actually ate a meal. I'm quite akward at large social gatherings in any case

I've never even eaten at a fancy restaurant, so don't be suprised if at my dinner party you see something like pot Btw, a starter meal - what's the difference between that and hors devours?

very entertaining!

Unknown said...

Firstly, pot roast is great... rustic food is the big thing over here at the moment.

Secondly, if you lived closer you would most definitely be on the top of my next dinner party invitation list.

Thirdly, hors d'oeuvres are the little selection bits that you can pick on before the meal starts, something for people to nibble on before being seated and whilst waiting for other guests to arrive - they are usually served on larges tray. Whereas the starter is the first course of the meal. My downfall with hors d'oeuvres is that I pig out on them and am usually full up by the time I get to the starter.... Oooops!

Unknown said...

Anywayz, I look forward to your response.... I'm sure it will be great!!!!!

Anonymous said...

That's an awesome meme ! Be sure I'll do it, just let me think about it for a few days.

Also I'm afraid you might disappointed - when it comes to food or dinner, I'm not French at all, so don't expect snails on the menu ! :D

Marjie said...

hello dear....i know i still owe you one, but then again, i can't help it. you have been tapped in for another meme. please check
for more details.

hope things are well with your euro-trippin' mate!

AZZITIZZ said...

Oh how cruel you are!
Here I am, sniffing, coughing really feeling sorry for myself and you go and throw one of your famous memes at me!
Not only that, I'm supposed (notice I put 'supposed'. With my cold, my diet is suffering as much as I am! Can't taste anything at all at the moment) to be on my diet and you are making me think and write about delicious food!!!!!!!
Mind you, isn't there an old saying about 'Feed a cold, starve a fever' that's OK then, I'll do it!

Choc Mint Girl said...

1. He he...okay, sophisticated enough...not bad...

2. Billy Connolly - Maybe I should invite him to my dinner party as well...;P
Emmeline Pankhurst - I salute her.
Amelie - from the film Amelie - Amazing!!

Wow...with your group of 5, I bet everybody will be talking non-stop ;P

3-5. GOD!! You really make me crave for those deliciously described food!!

6. Really?!! Can you read my mind now...he he...Probably yes. I’m hungry.

7. "All By Myself" I love this song!! But you're right. It's too depressing after a hearty meal. The "Perfect Day" would be perfect!!

8. That would be enough fair to everyone :)

linda said...

I will do this in the next day or so. Think you should be warned - my food life is spartan to say the least!!!

Casdok said...

I think i have put on 2lbs reading that!
I to hate the end of a good dinner party.

Choc Mint Girl said...

Okay, I've done my 'homework'...:D

Unknown said...

Zhu :) Thanks... Darn, I love escargot and frogs legs (we have a European restaurant here in Swindon that serves that ype of thing - only problem is that it is usually swimming in garlic butter! - No snogging afterwards!!!). I am sooo curious about what your choices will be..... I can't wait lol!

Marjie :)... I look forward to reading it and setting out to do my homework

Unknown said...

Azzitizz: Evil...evil...evil, yes... yes... yes... lol!!!! And please get well soon (but not before Neeza does a bit more running around!)

Choc, I have just read your meme result... Fantastic. Great. food sounds amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well Done!!!

Unknown said...

Linda, I am curious to read your menu and your choice of guests.... I can't wait! Happy meme'ing.

Casdok, isn't it weird how suddenly quite the house goes. It's one of those horrible feelings. Thanks for the kind comment :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Graham, What happened to my invitation I did'nt see my name on your guest list? Love Mum xxx

P.S. I would help with the washing up

David said...

Great meme!

Dinner parties are hard because you're responsible for a lot of things. Regular parties are also hard because they're so expensive. The tricks is knowing how to throw a hot party and make money.

Keep up the good posts =)


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