We're having a cocktail party on Saturday, and I'm so very pleased to be resuming this mostly-annual tradition of ours after skipping it last year. Husband and I just couldn't seem to get it together with an 8-month old baby to concern ourselves with. This year, though, we're seasoned parenting pros and we've got more space in our new place, too, to fit even more friends and neighbors. I'm really looking forward to it, even though I have no idea what I'll be wearing.
More than that, though, I'm having trouble deciding on an hors-d'oeuvres menu. In years past, I had a million ideas and had to whittle my tremendous lists of canapes, crudites, and the like down to a number of items I actually had platters to serve from. This year, not so much. What's making it hard is not just my usual lack of time to plan, though that is a factor. More than that, I'm feeling a bit intimidated about cooking for everyone. I used to know my way around a professional kitchen like...well, I don't know like what. But my work was so a part of me that it was a part of my physical memory. My arms and hands were used to exactly the right movements necessary to whip egg whites, shake a pan of rapidly caramelizing sugar, flute dozens of pie crusts in minutes, and all the rest of those small tasks I did for years. Those physical memories are pretty rusty now. I've been out of that life and really that culture--because there is a professional kitchen culture--for a couple of years now. And some of those people from that life are coming to my party.
So chefs are coming. Not only that, there will be vegetarians. Then, there's my good friend on a gluten-free diet. Husband isn't so down with the veggie thing since I wooed him away from his virtuous vegetarianism with a plateful of warm fried chicken some years ago. He told me he wants "meat on toothpicks." How the hell am I going to pull this all together AND make it yummy and festive? Wish me luck, will ya?
And any menu ideas you want to throw my way would be warmly received.