I love to have people over for dinner. I think hosting small dinner parties of four to six, is about the funnest thing you can do. But, in all honestly, since Sean was born, I have not done as much of that sort of thing as I like to do. I am out of dinner party shape. But now that Sean is getting older, it’s a lot easier and so I have been trying to get back in the swing of entertaining.
If you did not know, I am a bit of a foodie. I like to feed people. I love to buy food, I love to talk about food, I love to learn about food. I read cookbooks for entertainment and about the only television I watch is the Food Network. So it was weird that as I was planning my little dinner party menu, I was stumped. I could not think of one thing to fix. Even foodies get in a food rut from to time.
Someone suggested that I make Lazy Chicken. Frankly that didn’t sound all that great for some reason, and I think it was just that the name evoked unpleasant imagery. As does yogurt. I don’t really care for yogurt and I think it is because the word yogurt is an ugly and unappetizing word. Yogurt just doesn’t sound like something you oughta eat. They should call it buttery creamy caramel toasted stuff. Then I would like it.
Anyway, I looked around on the internet and this Lazy Chicken had a pretty good reputation, except for you know, being lazy. So I went with it and followed the recipe without deviation. But I had a not-so-good feeling about this dish all along.
If you are interested, here’s the recipe: Take a bunch of spices and coat the chicken, either frozen or fresh, and then bake it at 350. So that’s what I did. But when I pulled it out of the oven and tested a piece, my not-so-good feeling was confirmed: this chicken was not-so-good. I just couldn’t serve it. So I rinsed off all the spices, smothered it in salsa and covered the pan with heavy foil and set it aside to rest, to take a little power nap.
I then said a little prayer that through a baptism of salsa, the not-so-good chicken might experience a trans-substantiation of sorts and turn into something not-so-bad. Salsa can cover a myriad of culinary sins. And with the guests set to arrive in 10 minutes, there was nothing more that could be done. I had to move on.
And if the chicken wasn’t so great, then at least I had prepared other things. Lining the counter and ready to go was some hummus I had made for an appetizer, a spring salad, creamy au gratin potatoes, clover leaf rolls and pretty little homemade cobbler topped with a dusting of sugar which sparkled in the glow of the under-cabinet fluorescent lights. Pretty much, my entire meal was setting out on the counter waiting to be served. All that was left to do was make the tea so I boiled some water in the microwave.
When the microwave beeped, I popped open the door and retrieved a small pitcher of bubbling hot water. But as I did, the pitcher caught on the heavy12-inch glass platter that rotates inside the microwave. And out it fell. It first crashed onto the granite counter top and busted into a zillion pieces and then the rest of it crashed to the porcelain tile floor and busted into ten zillion pieces. Granite and porcelain tile are not forgiving surfaces. Keep this in mind should you be thinking of remodeling your kitchen. One unfortunate incident and your grandmother’s china is history. As well as any food you may have prepared.
When I opened my eyes there was glass everywhere. Every. Where. For weeks after, I found bits of glass all the way into the breakfast room and even the den. There was shards of glass in every dish I had prepared — everything that is except the stupid lazy good for nuthin’ chicken which was covered tightly with foil. And my guests were set to arrive any minute.
I wanted to cry big fat sloppy unappetizing snotty tears. And I also wanted to bust something else and stomp my feet and maybe even shake my fist.
But I didn’t do any of those things. I screamed for Sean to go get his father to help me clean up the mess. My plan was to first clean up the glass and then figure out how to prepare another meal in six minutes.
While AD swept up and wiped up and vacuumed up glass, I dumped all the food into the trash, dish by dish, making up new curse words in my head with every scrape.
Then on to Plan B. I always have a couple of blocks of cream cheese and crackers on hand, so I think I poured Somethingoranother over the cream cheese and put out some crackers and called it an appetizer. Then I made a pot of minute rice and seasoned it with a leftover packet of Somethingoranother that I found in the freezer. Then I opened a couple of cans of green beans, also seasoned with Somethingoranother and for dessert I pulled a Sara Lee Somethingoranother cake out of the freezer. If you don’t stock Somethingoranother and salsa in your pantry, you really should.
As luck would have it, our guests got caught in traffic and were a few minutes late and I magically pulled a meal together in time.
When the guests I arrived I tried to forget about the fact that I had glass dust floating in the air, and just relax and enjoy their company, which wasn’t hard to do as they were a fun couple, good conversationalists with entertaining stories. When they complimented me on the chicken I didn’t quite believe them because, in my opinion, it was really not very good. But they did clean their plates, so maybe they were sincere.
I guess as is often said, all’s well that ends well and no sense crying over shattered glass in your entire meal and if it ain’t broke, then Antique Mommy hasn’t touched it. Whatever.
So then, for a truly smashing dinner party, stock up on Somethingoranother and have Plan B. And maybe a dustpan handy.