Eight Is Enough

Since I couldn't attend Jacy's dinner party complete with Gifted Typist and Tanya Espanya, I thought it was high time I took on Wapantake's challenge to answer some questions related to dinner parties.

“The idea is to work your way through the eight phases of the dinner party, answering all of the questions on the way - being as honest and creative as you wish. Once your homework has been completed, please nominate any number of bloggers to host their own.”

First off, let me say that if I'd ever stopped to think that there were eight phases to a dinner party, I'd certainly never attend or throw one. It sounds like a lot of work.

1) The Dinner Party Theme
You have decided to hold a dinner party. When writing the invites you clearly state that fancy dress must be worn. Assuming that cost is no issue, who or what would you dress up as, and why?

I think I'd dress up as me, only a much more refined version of myself. Since expense isn't a factor but my ego is, I'd head for Harry Rosen or Walter Beauchamp Tailors and get myself into some made to measure clothes. Throw in some new cuff links and shoes and a watch from A. Lange & Sohne and I'd be good to go. I suppose that since it's a special occasion, I could put on clean socks and underwear too, you know, just to be sociable.

2) The Invitations
This dinner party is for 6 people (including yourself), you are allowed to invite any 5 other people (either past, present, real or fictional), who would you invite and why?

Since my last party with the movie folks was a hit and then Amy Sedaris and I became best friends, I'm confident that mixing up the guest list won't cause any unsightly blemishes.

On most occasions, it's easier to contact the living than the dead but for one night only, I think that resurrecting Anne Bancroft would be worth the extra effort. She'd be funny, charming, have great anecdotes and be flirty. I'd originally thought of Helen Keller but I hate repeating myself over and over and there's always the chance that if she's having an off night, it's food flying everywhere and that's just no fun for anyone.

Who else? I wonder if Jesus would come? No, forget him, once he starts with the party tricks, it's impossible to shut him down. Oh I know! Kathy Griffin! She's said things at least as outrageous as Jesus and would have everyone laughing and talking long after the party had wound down. I don't know anybody who can say Suck it! and mean it quite like Kathy.

Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos would be fun to have along as well for his hair alone. I'm pretty sure his alter ego, Tony Sirico would provide that fish out of water squirmy goodness that can be fun at a party. It'd give me a chance also to find out just how the hell he came to work on the upcoming Elmo's Christmas Countdown and to give me some inside dirt on his old HBO gig.

Aaron Eckhart would nicely balance out Kathy and Tony and I think it'd be fun to hear some of his Hollywood stories too. We could talk about his film choices and also whether Julia Roberts bugs him as much as she does me. I'm not sure why but he looks like the kind of guy who knows how to mix a mean drink too. Yep, he's in.

To add a little more estrogen to the mix, I think singer songwriter Jenny Lewis would round things out wonderfully. If we were lucky, she might get up and do a number or two and fill us in on why she didn't just go ahead and make a second great solo album instead of doubling back and helping Rilo Kiley put out half a decent one. It's also fun to have people of various heights in the same room.

3) The Starter
You are preparing the menu, which dish(es) would you choose as the starter, and why?

First off, as I'm not very skilled in the culinary arts, I'm hoping that having the whole affair catered falls under the 'preparing the menu' heading. Most of my friends know how to cook well but I didn't even have the courtesy to invite them so I guess I can't rely on them. I think the way to go might be with trays of tasty appetizers, some hot and cold, some on crostini, others in and out of puff pastry and maybe some little soup shooters. I'd also have smoking hot staff to serve them so if the food was lame, there'd at least be eye candy to munch on.

4) The Main Course
Okay, now for the main course? and what drink would you serve with it?

I think I'd opt for a nice and simple but tantalizing prime rib with carrots, potatoes and whatever other vegetables my guests might enjoy. I'd have to rely on whoever the wine expert in the crowd was to suggest something, because once again, I'm hopeless. Is there a wine that has a delicate yet playful undercurrent of gravy? Now that I think of it, I probably should have invited prominent conversationalists and mixologists Bubs and Coaster Punchman to ensure a top notch evening.

5) The Sweet
Finally, the sweet. Which would you choose, and why?

I had Blueberry Lime Cheesecake the last time I was in New York that was quite heavenly so I think I'd have Gordon Ramsay whip some of that up for everyone. It was delicious and just the right amount (still room for more drinks after).

6) The Entertainment
The dinner party has gone swimmingly, everybody has had fun, conversation and drinks have been flowing all evening. At the end of the meal you announce that everybody should perform their ‘party piece’ (no matter how strange or pointless). What party piece would you perform?

I'd like to do the treadmill dance perfected by Ok Go but I generally try to avoid personal injury and embarassment when in mixed company. Instead I might do a reading from my high school variety show that was a hit at the time. It was the story of Little Red Riding Hood but a sort of bass ackwards version. It was funnier than it sounds and was done at the behest of my Geography teacher who was directing the show. He later became the principal and was promptly arrested for shoplifting a dog collar at a local store (an honest mistake he claimed).

7) The End Of The Evening:
The party is over, everybody has gone home, the house suddenly feels empty and quiet. Your eyes fix on the hi-fi in the corner of the room. You search through your CD collection to put on some music as you want to listen to one more track before your retire to bed. Which track would you play?

I don't think the term hi-fi has been in broad use since the 70s has it? I also stopped buying CDs a while ago so instead as I lingered in front of the iPod sound dock, I might cue something up from a nice mix that Mellowlee made for me a while back. It might be After Midnight by JJ Cale but it could just as easily be any track from that mix. It has all sorts of love on it from Feist to Nina Simone to John Lee Hooker, Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens and some tunes I'd never heard before but still enjoy.

8) The Dinner Party Nightmares
Okay, so the “virtual” dinner party is over. Now for the real thing. Have you ever been to or hosted a dinner party during which something has gone wrong (either with the food, a guest or something else)?

While I've never had anything on a par with Mary Tyler Moore's Veal Prince Orloff incident, there was that one time...

My lovely friends Laurie and Tanya who had met only once before ended up seated across the table from each other at a small gathering. Laurie was providing instructions on the best way to eat some particular dish we were having. Without provacation, Tanya shouted at her 'Stop bossing everyone around and telling them what to do, we know how to eat'. This led to a deliciously awkward silence that was eventually recovered from but not before everyone's blood ran cold a moment. To avoid repeat performances, they are no longer contractually obligated to appear at the same functions.

I tag everyone to play along but first, be honest, do I look fat in this gravy boat?

**Edit - I always do this - I meant to invite Tina Fey but now she won't return my calls so she's up for grabs.


Katie Schwartz said...

You are so funny. You had me at Helen Keller.

Jill said...

I thought you were into fine cuisine, DAle!!
And yes, be civil, freshly wash underwear and sock is not an option!!

Tanya Espanya said...

Did I really say that? I totally don't remember it!

That's why you keep avoiding me, because Laurie bossed you into it.

Dale said...

Helen really has always intrigued me but can you imagine casual conversation over dinner Katie? Yikes!

I rely on menus to help me pick what I'm about to eat Jill.

It was a strange moment, perhaps you've blocked it Tanya, or been bossed into forgetting. haha.

Jill said...

I wanted you to start in a movie, Tanya, but you picture wouldn't go through!!

Dale, is the Kraft pizza the only thing you cook??

BeckEye said...

I think all dinner parties should end with all attendees doing the OK Go treadmill dance. I would go to a lot more of them.

I'm so upset that you didn't invite me to your party. I got bumped for Jesus? You only invited him as a back-up in case you run out of wine. You're such a user.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I may not want Helen Keller on my team in the event of a dinner party food fight, but I sure would want her participating in the jello toss.

X. Dell said...

(1) One of the benefits of inviting Jesus would be that you get really good wine that costs practically nothing.

(2) Perhaps when you have a stag dinner party, you will entertain us with that treadmill dance?

(3) Obviously, Laurie and Tanya are very genteel. If you had hosted the same dinner party in Brooklyn, they would have soon gotten into a catfight.

Then you wouldn't have to worry about providing entertainment.

(kidding, Tanya)

Some Guy said...

Julia Roberts bugs me too, Dale.

Helene said...

hehehe What a clever me me idea! And you are very funny!! LOL to Dells comment too! I would come to your gig if you invited me! Ohhhh you should host a virtual dinner party Dale!

Get planning!

Reese said...

Can you imagine how irritating that would be trying to have a conversation with Helen bloody Keller?

Who? Wha? Whe?

Oh, nevermind, Helen. Just eat your damn Kraft pizza.

paperback reader said...

I concur that the Helen Keller part really brought this home. Also, anyone whose train of thought has Jesus and Kathy Griffin as adjoining stations is all right by me (as opposed to Jesus, who is just all right by me).

Distributorcap said...

veal prince orloff --- oh betty white was SO good

Coaster Punchman said...

Tina Fey is on strike, silly. She won't be returning calls for a while.

I'm glad you finally saw the error of your ways and admitted Bubs & I should have been invited. So many of the world's problems can be solved by a few well mixed drinks. Duh.

Oh, and can I rent Tanya for my next party?

Jacy said...

a. I am in love with Aaron Eckhart.

b. I want Amy Sedaris to be my best friend.

c. That is such a hilarious -- and believable -- Tanya E. story. She bitterly called GT stupid the other night because she doesn't live in Toronto -- oh how we laughed.

d. I love me some prime rib with roasted carrots on the side!

RC said...

maybe you think ekhart could mix a mean drink if you saw him in the good german...wasn't he in that with a cameo as the bar tender?

or am i thinking someone else?

Dale said...

My repertoire is limited in the kitchen Jill, sad isn't it?

I'm planning on inviting you to the real dinner party Beckeye although I'll be using you for witty repartee and to prop me up.

Jello 1-2-3 Barbara, spell it out for her and she's good to go.

I'm not so sure it would be really great wine X. Dell, he starts with water instead of grapes. I'll do the treadmill dance but you have to participate too. Maybe Tanya and Laurie can join in.

I knew it! It's not just me. United we stand Chris.

A real one would be more fun Kate don't you think?

She'd recognize the words Reese but she might not recognize the Kraft as pizza.

Kathy did say something like 'Jesus can suck it' when she got her Emmy didn't she Pistols? They've got lots to talk about.

Betty was brilliant I agree Distributorcap. Would you like a slice or three?

Tanya is available for rental by the day or hour, depending on how long before she's ejected from the function CP. Mix me a strong one please.

Jacy, you can have Aaron but Amy's mine, thanks. It's Tanya they were thinking of when they coined the term civil war. Maybe they have a prime rib pizza at Il Fornello?

I'm not sure RC, I didn't see The Good German although my grandfather was German, I'll ask him, at my next seance.

Anonymous said...

Dale, I'm so at your place for dinner next time I'm in TO. And Espanya's driving me. And we want dance lessons on back deck on the footprints.

We'll always have the footprints, wont' we, dale.

Jill said...

Take some damn cuisine course!!

Leonesse said...

I didn't get my invite. I don't eat much. In fact, I will skip the dinner and head straight for the bar, then stand back and watch the Katfighting.

Dale said...

Sure GT, invite yourself over. Dinner's free but the dance steps will cost you dearly!

I'm not that hungry Jill.

You're invited to the real one Leonesse, I love someone who's not afraid to sit back and watch all the sloppy fun.

wapentake said...

Great post, Dale.

Sounds like an evening of unpredictable mayhem.

Playful undercurrent of gravy? Hmm - think I've sampled a few of those. Cheeky hint of Marmite really rounds off the nose as well.

Jill said...

Who is feeding you??

Dale said...

I like a little mayhem but I'm not so sure of the Marmite, only because I haven't tried it Wapentake.

The finest restaurants in the land Jill, that's who.