Mostest Note:


Yesterday’s brunch was perfect, simply because it was exactly what I intended it to be. I’m talking about the food part, the part for which I, and I alone, was responsible. Because it was exactly what I wanted it to be, I had a great time talking with my friends. Indeed, I was at the table, without more than momentary interruption, for seven hours. And so were most of them.  

Because Quatorze was sick [sicker than he dreamed, he found out in the morning, when he went to the doctor — although still ambulatory] there were only five of us at the table. In these early days of adult entertainment, I aim no higher than for six, but I do look forward to planning for eight. This evening’s five, though, was very jolly. Kathleen, although exhausted, was in great spirits. As was everyone else. That was the aspect of the occasion that I can’t really plan for. In addition to Fossil, we had an old friend of his who is rapidly becoming an old friend of ours, and, vice versa, a law school classmate of ours whom Fossil wishes he were young enough to run off with. These two old friends became good friends on the spot, or so it seemed. As I say, I can’t plan for that; I can  but hope. For me, the ideal dinner party makes fast friends of at least two complete strangers. All I do is set the stage.

The menu was, for the most part, startlingly unabitious:

Tomato Soup
Lobster Salad
Dilled Blanquette de Veau
Pots de Crème au chocolat.

The lobster salad was the exception. It was an invention, and it was the only dish that wasn’t prepared well in advance. I wanted something light and lobster-sweet. I murdered and cut up a two-pound lobster, wrapped it up, and slipped it into the fridge. Then, when it was time to compose, I sliced the tail into medallions and cut up the claws. I shucked three ears of corn and sautéed the kernels in butter. I minced a seedless cucumber. These ingredients got tossed in one bowl. In another, I combined three small heads of frisée, two Belgian endives, and one medium head of radicchio, all cut up nicely. Then I made a dressing of fresh tarragon (bushels, it seemed), raspberry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, and safflower oil (with a dollop of walnut oil). Oh, and a jolt of honey.  I didn’t measure anything, but I thought very hard about each ingredient as I added it to the bowl of the small food processor, and because I am a very old man who has been doing this sort of thing since before you were born, it came out just right. At the last minute, the greens were tossed with a sparing amount of dressing, and tonged to plates; the lobster-corn-cucumber mixture was dressed rather more substantially, and scooped atop the cabbages; and, finally, a lobster medallion was placed atop each pile, spooned over with a bit of dressing and a dash of retro paprika. At wash-up time, I was gratified by the generally clean plates.

The old friend of Fossil’s who is becoming an old friend of ours brought a tin of home-made chocolate-chip meringue cookies, and I tucked two at the base of each pot de crème. I was so collected that I even made a pot of coffee without feeling fussed.

I was ready for my guests to arrive a full forty minutes before anybody showed up. That is as it should be. That is how it used to be with me. I’d spend at least twenty minutes wallowing in the certitude that nobody liked me and that nobody would come to my party. Then I got to be rather a slob, occasionally waiting to dress until after everyone had arrived. Those days are over.

2 Responses to “Mostest Note:

  1. jkm says:

    It was a perfect afternoon/evening; excellent food, excellent wine and even more excellent company! I couldn’t have asked for a better finish to my weekend in New York.

  2. Caro says:

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