I am notoriously bad at hosting things. Parties, clubs, events…anything really. They fall through, or no one shows, or it’s just an abject disaster. But I think I must have finally appeased the party gods, because this weekend I hosted a “Salute to Summer” dinner party and it was a rousing success – if I do say so myself.
I had been planning for a few weeks, I obsessed over every detail, from the menu to the timeline of getting everything prepared, to the decor, to who I would invite.
I settled on a menu:
- cool watermelon & feta salad
- citrus herb chicken
- spiced salmon kebabs
- whiskey glazed carrots
- oven roasted potato wedges
- grilled zucchini spears
- grilled corn on the cob
- strawberry pretzel jell-o salad
- apple pie a la mode
- tequila with campari & tangerine juice cocktail
- white peach & thyme sangria
- bourbon sweet tea with orange & mint
I was so excited, and so stressed, and so nervous things would go badly yet again.
But I discovered something. Something I have now that made it all work. I have legitimately amazing friends. I mean…I KNOW my friends are awesome. Don’t get me wrong. But this weekend they took it to a whole new level.
Friday night Amber came over. She helped me do all the shopping, helped me make sure I got everything on my list. She also helped me reach the conclusion that my whole life is a lie because no one ever told me Blue Bonnet was margarine. What even? (In my defense, it doesn’t specifically say what it is at all, you have to read the ingredient list.) We got back to my house in record time, and set to work. Friday was for prep, and it’s a good thing I planned that out, because it took the two of us about 4 hours to chop the veggies, juice all the citrus, make the marinade for the chicken, the spice mix for the fish, and make as much of the cocktails as we could. It was almost 2am before I finally got to bed.
Saturday morning Cloe & I got up, & I set about finishing cleaning the house. At lunch time my parents brought me their banquet table & chairs so I would have enough seating for my anticipated 16 guests. After lunch I “snuck” a quick hour nap with Cloe before dropping her off at my parents’ house for a child-free evening.
I was back at home by 4pm and it was time to start setting up. I got the oven heating & the grill on & warming & set about setting my table.
I loved the way it came out.
At 4:30 my friend Susan came over to help with the cooking. Since I was more than a little nervous to tackle the task myself, I set her to skinning & cutting up the salmon for our skewers. I pulled out the chicken (which had now been marinating a good 18-20 hours and smelled AMAZING) and headed back to the deck to put it on the grill. And that’s when the only real “disaster” struck. It turns out that the gauge on the propane tank was faulty. It SAID we had plenty of gas, while in reality we had none. A frantic phone call to my dad and he saved the day by bringing over his own full tank for me to use. Soon Amber & her roommate TJ arrived with the watermelon for the salad, and extra hands to finish getting everything ready.
Once we were finally up and running I was able to cook as guests arrived. Conversation was had, cocktails were consumed, new friends were made, and I just smiled through it all. I was on cloud nine. When dinner was ready I had everyone fix their plates & there was more than enough of everything to go around. Everyone kept saying how good everything was and I just kept getting more and more elated. We all ate too much, and then some, but it was so totally worth it.
After dinner we played some Cards Against Humanity. I had heard of it, and even heard stories, but this was my first time actually playing. Let me tell you, you don’t know your friends until you see who laughs about “kids with ass cancer,” “penis fingers” (also jiz hands), or my personal new favorite “fuck mountain.” Things eventually started winding down, and when it was just Amber, TJ, Susan, Laura, her boyfriend Brian, and myself we decided to play a game of Quelf. I love quelf. It’s ridiculous in the extreme, sometimes embarrassing, but OH so much fun, especially when you play with the right people, which we did. By the time we finished with Quelf it was 1am. Laura & Brian headed out, and Amber, TJ & Susan stuck around until 1:45 helping me put away leftovers & clean up as much as possible.
All in all, this was my favorite weekend I’ve had in a long time. Good food, good drinks, good conversation, fun games, and some of the best people I know all in one place. Maybe I’ll make a giant epic dinner party an annual (close to the) end of summer tradition. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll do a giant low country boil. Until then I’ll start mentally preparing for the fun things in my future: my birthday, Cloe’s birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving in Disney World, and Christmas (which is now less than 6 months away!)!