Monday, 26 July 2010

how to get dinner on the table even if you cant cook

that was the by-line, i think it's called, on a book i bought this morning.
i was wandering the discount tables, considering something of Dr Phil's and then i saw it "rita's culinary trickery"
it's a pink hard covered book with a sketch of a curvaceous, simultaneously waif thin, woman in an apron and high heels, little stars sparkling above the fry pan she holds.
culinary trickery sounds right up my alley and so i paid my $5 and hurried a little to the coffee emporium to get a hot chocolate and some alone time with this pretty new acquisition.
if i had read the back cover "for everyone who wants to add a little sparkle to entertaining" i probably wouldnt have bothered. i used to enjoy entertaining once but these days i seem to have got selfish, at the end of the working week i just want to retire to my little cocoon and not think too much about anyone......
but back to the book. it could have been written by my friend TTS (hi you!) she could make canned soup and two day old bread into an event, all with good grace and hospitality and ease. i watched and learned from her before she went off to the UK to bestow her hospitality on that part of the world (who probably need it, given the weather)
and back to the book.......
rita is full of advice like
  • salad in a large bowl immmediately looks better than when it's spilling out of a small bowl
  • never buy pasta sauce in a jar (from the deli is ok)
  • jars of pesto work but buy an italian brand
rita is keen on manners and (this one's for leah) she has ordered some scarlet & green "at home" cards, because people realise you do expect them to show up if they have a written invitation.

she's got me thinking about my own rules on food and entertaining, i'm sure i have a long list
  • if you must use paper plates get top quality ones and NEVER plastic
  • i'd rather eat with my hands than use plastic cutlery
  • a glass isnt that hard to wash, at someone else's place i'll do it myself rather than use plastic cups and at my place i'll wash them all
  • serviettes are nearly always wasted but you cant do without them
  • nothing to do with entertaining but all to do with serviettes, i always pop the clean ones in my bag at a restaurant. they always come in handy and no-one will be worried about how cheap it looks if they need one
have you got rules? bug bears? odd quirks about food? or serviettes?


  1. As one who has travelled to some interesting places, I've found quite a few quirks. But to each his/her own culture, wot? But 'tis fun to try different things, yes?

    And being from Germany th' only thing that I never really agreed with was th' cold tomato soup for an appetiser...

    And paper plates, yes. Cor! What the microwave can do to plastic ones!

  2. subby!
    yes each to his own!

    i dont mind cold tomato soup, myself but before i tried it i thought it would be awful

  3. kylie ( gettin' ready fae work )...down South America way they serve up some very interesting dishes...but no tomato soup ( which hot is okay, heh )...

  4. ah! yes guinea pig and what not!
    fun fun

    have a great day?

  5. I don't have any special tips on "entertaining" as far as food goes. I'd say just provide something tasty and unusual. I think the conversation is trickier. If you don't get the right mix of people and you don't get some interesting topics on the go from the start, it can all too easily descend into domestic and workplace trivia and get horribly dull.

  6. hey nick,
    she has comments on who to invite, as well!

  7. be sure to invite me, i'm wonderful

  8. What is a serviette?

    You have Dr. Phil in Australia? I know of him but have never watched him. Here, we have commercial television and we have public television. The former has crime shows, talk shows, reality TV, etc. It also has lots and lots of commercials, far too many commercials for me to watch a program even if the program is good. The latter has educational programs and no commercials. It does have fund drives every now and then since it's mostly viewer supported. I watch it a great deal. As I read about your trip, I remembered a program about women being shipped to Australia (from England) as wives for the many men who were already there.

  9. putz,
    i am sure you are wonderful but didnt you see the bit about me liking my peace?
    what do you like to eat?

  10. snow!!!

    you have outdone yourself!!
    did you see the sidebar? i hoped you would laugh....

    i have to go make a pretence at mothering but i will be back to talk tv and dr phil.....


  11. I didn't see the sidebar. You didn't use the wording I suggested! Ha!

  12. snow,
    i was thinking a serviette was a paper napkin, when i looked it up it is just a napkin, paper or otherwise.....

    here there is the government broadcaster, which shows a range of stuff: dramas, mysteries, docos, news/current affairs, sport.
    itdoesnt have ads and most of the stuff is quality and/or quirky. i dont watch a whole lot of tv and i dont watch enough of the ABC because my family have a bias towards commercial tv

    commercial tv is full of ads and you wade through a lot of junk to get the gems. there are a few gems.

    along with much of australia i have recently been addicted to masterchef and what i have noticed is that people who LOVE cooking but hate commercial tv are so un-used to the suspense building and the delays and ads that they wont watch commercial tv, even for a great competition.

  13. not taco soup but i do like tomatoes, and beef steak, t bone, high quality>>>haven't ever real had a perfect t bone>>>mostly macoroni and cheese

  14. not taco soup but i do like tomatoes, and beef steak, t bone, high quality>>>haven't ever real had a perfect t bone>>>mostly macoroni and cheese

  15. Thank goodness you passed up Dr. Phil.

    My dad makes the most amazing tomato soup you ever tasted.

    My one and only rule for entertaining is "keep it coming."

    It seems to work.

  16. As long as you have plenty of booze and free kareoke, now one will complain about the food. They will be too busy laughing. Or passed out on the floor.

  17. Shoot the only rules we have these days is that the baby gets fed, and then me and Mrs. Shife fend for ourselves. One day we will get it together but right now it is all about the baby biy.

  18. Not crazy about disposable stuff and you can't drink Chardy out of a paper cup, it's a travesty. Although I disagree re the pasta sauce in jars, use it heaps!
    Entertaning: Gourmet Barbies and beer bum chook

  19. cece,
    i dont do booze or karaoke, so i guess you wont be wanting to go to any party of mine

    oh yeah, i dont do parties either

    i use jar pasta sauce all the time, too.
    i read the book but i dont have to follow the rules!

    you have your priorities all right!

  20. "oh yeah, i dont do parties either'

    No sweat, Kylie, Jesus didn't host parties either, although people liked to invite him to their parties in order to save on the liquor bill. Then, he ran afoul of people who had lots of money and didn't need help on their liquor bill. Oh, well, shit happens;

  21. ha! snow,
    damned if you do and damned if you dont, huh?


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