20 Feb 2010

Big Dinner

Posted by annmcolford

It’s noon, and I’m taking a brief break in my 48-hour cooking frenzy. Tonight, 13 people will be coming over for dinner—and eight of them are paying guests. This is the payoff from my being sold at live auction in late October. As a benefit for the Parkinson’s Resource Center of Spokane, I donated dinner here at my home, with me—along with a handful of guests from the local food world—to a winning bidder. (I was convinced—arm-wrestled—to do so by my friend Cate, who is the program director/office manager there.) Initially, it was to be a dinner for two, plus my own invited guests. During the course of the auction, as the bidding got hot and heavy, it turned into dinner for four. And then into two dinners for four. For which each bidder paid an extraordinary sum of money. (Surprised the heck out of me that people would pay money to have dinner with me.) Luckily, the two winning bidders know each other, so we just combined the dinners into one big event.

And it’s tonight.

I began cooking on Wednesday, by baking bread. One loaf is still in the freezer. (I’ll take that out and pop it briefly in the oven just before people arrive.) I shopped on both Thursday and Friday to buy what I need. Yesterday, I made a double batch of seafood chowder, and did prep work on salad. I also thawed out some leftover ratatouille and mixed up a batch of eggplant tapanade, like I did back in December. This morning, so far, I’ve baked two dense chocolate cakes for dessert (one made with chili spice, and one with cherry-almond chocolate). I’m sitting here for the 20 minutes that it takes the second cake to bake. Next, I have to finish chopping some of the salad ingredients, then I’ll make the salad dressing. Then I’ll assemble the bobotie, the entrée course for the evening. That will go in the oven to bake just before people arrive at 6 pm this evening.

After that, I have to tidy up the dining and living rooms, empty the trash, iron a couple of tablecloths and count up plates, bowls, glasses, etc., to make sure I’ve got enough. (I’m thinking I may need to call out for more serving bowls and utensils. Just a thought.) Oh, and I have to get a shower in there somewhere, too.

It’s a beautiful sunny day outside, anyway, about 40 degrees at the moment. I’ll open up windows in a bit to let some of the fresh air in.

And there’s the bell for the cake. Gotta run.

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