Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Pain of Entertaining

I had this idea of few weekends ago to entertain.  It had been 2 months since I'd previously entertained/cooked for more than our small family and two friends at a time, and so the memory of the stress and disappointment of my birthday celebration had dissipated and I was entertaining, entertaining again.

It had started with the pizza oven, and Kleftiko.  'Simple and painless', I thought. But as the days grew closer my desire to cook something dazzling and daring overtook the more pragmatic side of my nature.  I changed the menu to Paella.  (After over-doing Paella a year ago, I had started cooking the dish again from memory (ie. without a recipe), with wonderful results.)

It's hard to know where it all went wrong.

I had planned well in advance, buying my meat on the Friday, preparing the stock on the Saturday, and timetabling my Sunday so the Paella would start to be cooked at 6.45... with guests arriving between 7 and 7.30.

I suspect it was the guests arriving too early, the champagne being opened too early,  and the paella started 30 minutes too late.. but my well planned evening dissipated into chaos much earlier than I wanted.  It wasn't the best paella I've ever cooked, and the dessert of goats curd cheesecake and stewed quinces didn't get the "oohs and ahhs" usually reserved for my desserts... it was a dinner of aromatic and textural surprises, not a visual feast.  And I was so busy cooking and running around, I can't say I had a fab time... I had the feeling that something special, the essence of why I like to cook was lost or missing.... I'm still looking for that lost essence.  When I find it, I might cook to entertain again.. and this time I'll write it down.. that elusive missing essence..
But the real 'pain' of entertaining that evening, is with me still.  It's the pain of what feels like an injured cocyx, damaged while trying to show off on my son's scooter after drinking too much red wine.. yes, that will teach me.. something!  Not sure what!