Break the Glass Ceiling. Or Just the Glass.

There comes a time in every young life when you must throw a dinner party for your friends. It’s a rite of passage, similar to finally admitting that it wasn’t the two Blue Moons that “made you” get a double cheeseburger at 2 a.m.–it was just your sober, fat ass.

You’re not what one would call a “cook,” but you also have $117 in clearance holiday dishware from an ill-fated Target run last December. It’s burning a hole in your cabinet, and now’s as good a time as any to whip it out.

Alexandria, Va. / December 2014

Alexandria, Va. / December 2014

After doling out three coveted invitations, your next step is settling on a menu. W.W.B.L.D, you ask yourself. What would Blake Lively do? Then you realize you don’t have 900 hours, a glue gun and a parmesan grater to devote to the affair, and settle on a trusty pork tenderloin.

Having never shopped for loins of any kind, a significant amount of time is spent in the meat aisle, paralyzed with indecision. “Do I get, like, the log?” is spoken, via phone, to your best friend.

Log eventually in hand, you nail down Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes for your sides. A homemade chocolate cinnamon pudding to cleanse the palate.

When the day of the dinner party rolls around–talk of one guest bringing a back-up pork loin rattling your confidence–you create a Beautiful Mind timetable for each dish. It’s a shit load to keep track of.

Things begin rather seamlessly, but you soon realize the only measuring device in your possession is a one-fourth tablespoon. This does not bode well.

As the hours march on, physically exhausted from at one point measuring 14 one-fourth tablespoons of an ingredient, you face your next demon: The potato peeler. Burdened with very large hands tasked with holding very small potatoes, the peeling is nearly impossible, Your hand has taken on a permanent claw formation, and multiple slips have left two of your fingernails significantly chipped. A piece of one may or may not be in the potatoes. Who’s to really say.

Despite feeling dangerously overheated and in need of a back brace, all else is fairly seamless and your guests arrive to a holiday wonderland. The simultaneous delivering of dishes has always been a weakness of yours, and there’s danger of the meal turning into a tapas sitch–one dish brought out at a time–but the show must go on.

Cold potatoes

Cold potatoes

Your guests help themselves and insist their initial bites are quite good, but there’s a murmuring of lukewarm mashed potatoes. “No,” you proclaim, spooning everyone’s individual mashed potato servings into a communal bowl and shoving it into the microwave, “you will not eat cold potatoes. But…sorry about the lumps.”

Doled back out into individual, and now very much mixed and contaminated, servings, the potatoes are of a pleasing temperature and no one is yet ill from the loin.

Excited to show everyone your pudding creation–each serving held in a decorative martini glass–you open the refrigerator and watch the first martini glass fall onto the floor and shatter into pieces. To be sure, there is glass everywhere, but miraculously, only the stem and bottom are broken. The martini glass itself is still intact, though very possibly riddled with shards of glass.

“I’ll eat from this one,” a martyr somewhere deep within you offers.

And that’s when you understand what being a host is all about.

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