On Sunday afternoon, my slightly drunk boyfriend sat me down in a pub and told me he had a confession to make. My stomach flipped nervously.
‘I’ve developed an addiction,’ he said.
He glanced down at his feet as I fidgeted in my chair. Then he looked me directly in the eye.
‘I can’t stop inviting people over for dinner.’
Since we moved into our home (I still love saying it, ‘Our Home’) we’ve started enjoying having guests. It certainly feels very grown up. Even though all we seem to do is eat take away and watch TV, being able to have friends over without asking for Mum’s permission feels very independent.
I still remember my parent’s dinner parties when I was a child. I would be fed and bathed first and then allowed to say hello to the adults before being relegated to my bedroom. It was a rare event and I was so jealous of those who got to sit at the second dining table, which was reserved for such occasions.
The formal dinner party seems to be a dying tradition. I remember talking to my grandmother about the parties she used to host. Back before email, even before every house had a telephone, invitations were sent by post. All of the guests would find babysitters, get dressed up, and the host would be complimented and maybe given a small gift. It was a proper affair.
Now that I can invite people whenever I please I realise I’m still not nearly as sophisticated as my grandparents. The closest I seem to be able to get to that level of glamour is watching Mad Men. For one thing I don’t have a ‘good’ dinner set, or linen serviettes. I never remember to take people’s coats at the door. I don’t know how to how to juggle small talk with preparing three courses and keeping glasses filled, unless you’d like an entrée of mee goreng followed by butter chicken from a jar. The idea of asking someone to ‘dress up’ for dinner at my house is laughable. I’m doing well to be wearing pants at home much of the time.
I have a lot to learn. And thanks to my boyfriend, I have a deadline for when to learn it. All of our friends and their dogs are expecting dinner invitations, so I’d better learn to cook!
I would love any comments with any recipe suggestions for girls who aren’t exactly kitchen friendly.
This is Julia, being grown up.