Monday, June 20, 2011

What’s for Dinner? Fnarr! Fnarr!

It is my turn to host ‘Dinner Club’. I am grateful that I was invited, by a neighbour to join ‘Dinner Club’. It got me out the house, the first Friday in every month at , to meet other couples, 7 of them. (Dinner Club has rules!) The host decides on a ‘theme’ and the other guests contribute a dish – an appetizer, side or Dessert. I have had some very interesting culinary and dining experiences. Making fried green tomatoes to contribute to ‘Southern living’ night was a challenge, not least because green tomatoes were not in season. I made them with red and hoped the other guests thought my tomatoes were blushing (at being called tomaytos instead of tomartoes for one thing!) That night I experienced grits. It changed my world. I went on to join a Grits Festival facebook page to which I regularly contribute! There are whole worlds out there you just don’t know about until you are stupid enough to look. Sometimes I wish I remained ignorant!
Another memorable Dinner club night was the Japanese night. I made Tuna sashimi for the first time and prayed I wouldn’t kill the other guests with virtually raw tuna. After all, these are people who refuse to eat Tiramisu if it has raw eggs in it! That night was mostly memorable (or rather – mostly a blank) because of the Fuki-saki!
On the ‘Thanks giving’ theme we were asked to take something we always cook for Thanks giving – I took f**k all! Not really – I took something I always cook at Christmas. Delia’s braised red cabbage. I may as well have taken f**k all. It didn’t go down well. Come to think of it – it doesn’t get eaten on Christmas day either.
Until I moved it forward a week my dinner club date was originally for the holiday weekend for the 4th July. I purchased tons of union Jack stuff when I last visited England (I got  tableware and serviettes – napkins as they call them here – they don’t know what a serviette is – I hate asking for napkins as it doubles as the word for sanitary towels here too. To add to the confusion they call towels in the bathroom to dry your hands on ‘sanitary towels’. I am worried that one day someone will get confused and it will end in terrible embarrassment!). I thought it would be funny to serve dinner decorated with the antithesis of stars and stripes for the 4th July. I get asked by Americans if we celebrate 4th July in England. People are surprised when I say no – given it is to celebrate independence from Great Britain why would the Brits celebrate it? Actually, having lived in the USA for a year I think it is ironic that we don’t celebrate it in Britain after all!
I have to decide a theme for Dinner club. This isn’t as straight forward as you may think when inviting 7 other couples who you know only in a fairly formal setting. Did you know for example that putting Lasagne in the menu is code for a Swinger’s party? Neither did I until I was told that there was a healthy swinger’s community here around Azalea Lane and I should be careful what I cook up! Not for the first time I was stupid enough to search for information on Google. (Not sure I want to ‘like’ what I found on Facebook – one thing is having mad ‘grits festival’ status’s popping up but what would pop up from a swingers status?! One website boasted 9872 Cary Swingers within 100 miles. Housing estates are called sub-divisions here. I wanted to know where the swinging sub-divisions were. I thought about posting a query on i-neigbours… If only I had a pair of balls! How funny would that be (my query, not me with balls!)? I wish now I had set up a mock i-neighbors account to do that!
What is swinging? According to one website it is ‘For Those Who Want More Than Just One Bite Of The Apple’. How do you know who wants apples…or lasagne? In the UK we had a hot tub- another sign of a swinger that I didn’t know about until we got a hot tub. I never told anyone we had one in case we were mistaken for swingers. We knew of a couple who found themselves at a ‘hot tub’ party. Turns out it was a ‘speculative’ party for new recruits. One half of the couple proved eager to join while the other looked on in sheer horror, knowing from the face being pulled, exactly what was going on under the bubbles! Whilst true to swinging, the act was done in the presence of both spouses, it certainly broke the swinger rule that it must be done with the consent of both partners!
So – Lasagne is off the menu for Dinner Club. I don’t want to create the wrong impression, even unwittingly. I have opted for the British National dish of curry. It fits in with Dinner club rules – it challenges the taste buds and the culinary contributions of the guests. Indian food is not widely eaten here (other than those from or of Asian heritage) so I am hoping my menu of poppadoms and all the trimmings, Chicken tikka masala, prawn Rogan josh , kheema curry and saffron Rice cannot be misinterpreted or seen as a sign for anything other than great tasty food. I may be pushing my luck with Bombay Sapphire Gin and Tonic sorbet – who knows what can happen after a bowl of that!


  1. I'd have stuck with the Italian theme, served Lasagne and watched the faces of your 7 'formal' couples for furtive glances

  2. statistically one couple would be expecting an interesting dessert!

  3. Wish I had a hot tub or that I could possibly get into one

  4. Jason said:
    Hot tub from Web's? & Jane with balls, thats another blog..