Posts Tagged ‘hostess’
My mother was a dinner party diva. She loved to entertain guests. She was always inviting people over–especially priests. Priests usually know and tell jokes, their jokes weren’t that good, so I doubt that’s why they were invited, but it made them seem to be as good company as other dinner guests.
My mother was extremely Catholic for most of her life, maybe she invited priests out of some sense of religious obligation, or maybe she thought it was the sort of thing that would make The Pope like you, if you should ever happen to meet him at Sears or Penney’s. I suspect she just felt sorry for a bunch of single guys who had to eat their own cooking. If their cuisine was as dull as their clothing, they were probably very thankful.
She was much better at dinner parties, than I. Since I often assisted her, I should be expert. Under her tutelage, I became and especially good food-taster, a particularly efficient cheese grater, and I learned to cook.
My mother could cook almost anything. I’m not biased, she really could cook–Mexican, Italian, Chinese, German, Irish, and on Christmas, occasionally, flaming plum puddings–as fabulous as anything from Dickens. Her extraordinary kitchen prowess is particularly remarkable because she was first generation in America, raised poor and struggling, but somehow developed the cooking skills of a continental. In addition to a pretty solid culinary background, she endowed me with her love of sharing food and home.
For years, a household motto here was “We’d rather have a bad guest, than an uncomfortable guest“ That was our way of saying, make yourself at home, help yourself, put your feet up, speak up if you need something. (We dropped that motto a couple of years ago, after having a truly awful house guest–one so insufferable, I stopped just short of breaking the “Mi Casa es su Casa“ plaque.)
I’m not a great hostess, I like the preparation and the details, but I have trouble sitting down, if something is amiss–and there is always something. Fortunately, Beloved Soul-mate is gracious enough to compensate for my preoccupations. Over the years, he’s realized I count on him to make sure that our guests are greeted, welcomed and properly beveraged. It works well, and he’s a natural; and though as hostess, I rarely sit down to enjoy everything, I find it all very enjoyable.
It makes no sense. Many hours planning & preparing, a few hours with friends, more hours cleaning up, how did Mom make it seem so easy? Even in her old age, she could outdo me in many things–obviously, her brain was more highly developed than mine–it was certainly better organized.
Beloved Soul-mate, got a Blackberry-like device a few years back. I would have liked something like that, but I never needed one when Mom was around. She’d visit a few weeks each year and during those weeks, her head was my personal organizer. Instead of writing a shopping list, I could just tell her what I needed and count on her to remind me if I forgot something at the store. I could give her a general overview of my week, and know she’d be sure to remind me of appointments, not only that but she was a store of information. She was always good for a recipe or a tip on anything from parenting to first-aid.
Mom’s not around anymore. Too bad, she was so much nicer to have around than an electronic organizer. When iPhone comes up with an app called “Deb’s Mom” I’m all over it.