Dec 14, 2009

A Progressive Holiday Meal

Acknowledging Capote and Our Cake Boss
Our dinner on December 8 was notable for several reasons: 1) women were present (and the men were well-behaved); 2) the dinner progressed from house to house (thanks to Larry, Terry, and yours truly); 3) Stan never monopolized the conversation (was it Abbie’s influence?); and 4) we ignored our chosen book. Well, all except for Garth, who used women and jewelry as the inspiration for his dessert. Thanks to him, Breakfast at Tiffany's will be forever known as the book that produced The Cake. With strings of edible pearls circling the plate, and silver earrings hanging from a profusion of silver stems, the Cake captivated our wives and quickly became the conversation piece of the evening. And, just as quickly, Garth was inducted into the Panderers Hall of Fame by all of the men present.

The Cake, surrounded by its admirers.
The Dinner
Conceived and hosted by three of us, but supplied and served by each man in attendance, our dinner was a nice entrĂ©e to the holiday season. Although we spent no time discussing the book, Capote’s slender novella was the evening’s thematic sideshow. The 1961 film by Blake Edwards spooled endlessly on Larry’s flat screen during appetizers, Garth came dressed in fedora and scarf, and Jana vamped as Holly Golightly (the dark glasses and white dress coat were smashing).

With assignments given out just days in advance, the food and drink were superb. Roast top sirloin, smoked salmon, and honey baked ham shared the bill for main course, but accompanying them were too many excellent dishes to list. Instead, I will offer a few observations:

1.  Larry’s antipasti and Dean’s baked Camembert and Brie were so vigilantly guarded by the women that certain men had to make do with beer and wine (Chris, that was a nice Xmas Ale!).

2.  The usual overachievers simply couldn’t help themselves. Tom J grilled his vegetables on site like a short order cook; Stan roasted enough new potatoes to feed Napoleon’s army; Tom A prepared two different side dishes and presented both with recipes attached; and, finally, John not only prepared 3 different sauces for his smoked salmon, but he also typed up name cards for each.

3.  In the unsung heroes department, George and Paul surprised everyone with distinctive salads that appeased the discriminating palates of our wives.

4.  Garth’s showy confection may have stolen the limelight, but Terry’s seasonally dressed cupcakes (thanks, Gail!) and Armando’s shockingly rich chocolate ganache were equally enjoyed, especially with help from Roy’s after-dinner spirits and George’s Ice Wine.

Next Up
We will spend January in Tahoe, and will return in February to tackle Jonathan Raban’s Bad Land. His outsider’s account of the promise and disappointment of the American west was the surprise pick from a compelling list of titles compiled by Tom A.

The Evening in Pictures

In a rare moment, Stan is seen listening intently while Theresa shakes her head in disbelief. At back, John sets out the name cards for his sauces.

Terry asks Tom J to repeat what he told Stan.
Obviously, it must have been fascinating.

George poses, drink in hand, and wonders 
how many wrapped books he can purloin.

Standing around doing nothing….it’s what I'm best at,
and Terry seems to agree.