Clothes and a Gourmet Dinner Party
I learned the difference between men and women
by Heidi Becket
My mother wore beautiful designer
dresses and gave dinner parties with cut-glass stemware and bone
china dishes. I was fifteen. I wore sneakers and went to school.
Once my mother orchestrated a luau with a roast pig on a spit. I
wanted to do that, oh, I wanted to do all the glamorous things my
mother did. Roast suckling pig was beyond my grasp, but deep in
the basement, my mother had a freezer with choice cuts of meat.
I made a plan. I would have a sit-down dinner party, a culinary
feast worthy of a gourmet, complete with cut-glass and china, with
sterling silver utensils.
I picked a night that my parents
would be out late and set the plan in motion. I bought perfect strawberries
to dip in chocolate for dessert. I bought miche and fresh salad
greens in the local gourmet shop. I checked to see that the silver
was polished. Then I descended into the lower depths and the treasures
of the freezer. I sprang loose the tomato basil bread rolls that
had been such a success at my mother's parties. I 'borrowed' the
lemon poppy seed bundt cake that my mother had made so diligently.
I picked up the prime beef filets as gently as if they were babies.
They would be tournedos. I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, humming
and cooking. I dressed in my best clothes, pretending that they
were designer dresses.
The fine young ladies and gentlemen
arrived. Were they in designer dresses and suits?
The girls were in their glory.
The boys, well they were dressed though still wearing sneakers.
A few looked startled, a few looked unhappy, all of them looked
uncomfortable. Dinner will help, I thought as they sat to eat. But
I wasn't prepared for the response to gourmet food from those teenage
boys. Picking up one of the elegant rolls, one of the boys exclaimed
"There's orange and green stuff in here." Although one
of the girls hissed, "Quiet, you nerd," the door had opened
to food remarks, and I discovered that food illuminates the difference
in men and women. The tournedos were almost a success. Almost. Had
I served these fine filets with catsup and a soft bun they would
have been the star of the evening.The evening ended at the side
of the pool. No, it ended in the pool as one guy after another defied
his fine attire by jumping in the pool. Designer clothes? Was this evening a failure?
I thought so, but now, years later, my friends still talk about
the evening. AND they hint that they'd like to try the evening again,
now that we are grown. If only I hadn't moved away from that magical
freezer of my mother's and the imagined world that could create
designer dresses from thoughts alone.
Editor's note: Heidi learned
to cook, but, instead of the desgner influence, the gourmet dinner
party, she turned to healthy foods. Try her recipes for
mushroom loaf, banana
bread pudding and