During my bachelorette days, my friends were my only “family” within 3,000 miles and I had a close circle of friends who helped me celebrate all the important occasions in my life, including birthdays and holidays. Even a good tv show was enough for me to invite friends over for a weekly dinner party that ran as long as the new episodes held out. I also hosted an annual Christmas party, which was always a crowd-pleaser, if I do say so myself. I tried to cultivate an air of festive elegance at these events, laced with 1950’s cocktail party insanity. Hanky-panky, anyone? Yes, I did say this to each of my guests when I was single, passing around a platter of hot, spicy appetizers named, you guessed it, “hanky pankies” (recipe courtesy of my mother’s 1970’s era recipe file.) I loved hosting these parties and my friends still tell me they think about my annual Christmas party longingly when the holiday season rolls around. I had one last party after I got married, but after I started having babies, the Christmas party was too much to handle. Just thinking about the days of food preparation made my head spin. (When should I slice my dad’s country ham? Are one hundred homemade rolls enough? Should I turn the crock-pot of sweet and sour meatballs on at 4 pm or 5 pm? These thoughts still make me sweat a little bit.)
Friday, April 9, 2010
Family dinner parties are great, and important, but they can end up driving you crazy. And when I say “you”, I mean “me”. If you’re the person who’s always in charge of family meals at your house, then you know what I mean. It’s wonderful to see friends and family gathered around the table enjoying a meal together, but often the host or hostess has no fun at all. My grandmother was this person, my mom is this person, and I see that this is the person I have become. So I’m going to try to buck tradition and find a way to make family meals less taxing and dare I say, enjoyable for all concerned.