Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Recipe For Your Next Strategic (and Stressful) Dinner Party

While waiting out my daughter's orchestra rehearsal last night, I brought along my stack of magazines to catch up on. The new issue of Bon Appetit was on the top. Now don't get any ideas about nightly gourmet meals being concocted in my kitchen. Bon Appetit is just my favorite food fantasy magazine.
One article in particular proved pure folly.

Just the title suggests a long process: "Thank God It's Friday Night! The no-stress, plan-ahead, you-can-do-it, strategic, genius, totally delicious guide to throwing a dinner party" by Amanda Hesser. Is this for real? That title tipped me off that Ms. Hesser was perhaps promoting the impossible. As I delved in, I realized that, even in my former life as a Mom who worked from home, I would have difficulty pulling off this suggested dinner party.

The article recommends throwing a dinner party for 8 guests on a Friday night to kick off the weekend. I agree with that. But her idea of a dinner party is not a potluck and does not involve ordering pizza. Ms. Hesser goes into great detail, providing recipes, tips on inviting guests, and setting up ipod playlists. Best of all, she handily provides a Monday thru Friday evening timeline of all you must do to prep for your Friday night fete.

This timeline is unachievable for anyone who happens to work, volunteer, chase kids, and have any evening activities. Here are a few of the tidbits from the timeline for your dinner party:

  • Monday: Make the ginger syrup ??? Choose your outfit. (I can probably handle that one.)
  • Tuesday is my favorite day of  unattainable  tasks: Purchase all but the last minute farmer's market ingredients. (The author implies that you actually have access to a farmer's market on a daily basis.) Iron your table linens—HA! Good one!
  • Wednesday: Cook short ribs, order wine, and make seating plan for guests.
  • Thursday: Make that final farmer's market run, set dinner table, stock guest bathroom with towels and toilet paper.
  • Friday: Arrive home two hours before your guests arrive. Prep/cook main course, set out hors d'oeuvres, clean up kitchen. (Each one of these tasks could probably take me two hours.)

Perhaps these successful, stress-free, dinner party guidelines are achievable if you have a cook who lives in your house instead of children, a dog, and a husband.

I will still manage to pull off a Friday night dinner party without all the time-sucking, weekday prep leading up to the event. I love that my guests ask me what they can bring over to include in the Friday night dinner party. Good friends, great food, no fuss, and no Thursday night trips to that farmer's market. Bon appetit!

Amanda Hesser's stressful tips are in the October 2013 issue of Bon Appetit. The link to her article is not up yet, but I will post it when it is available.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

One Chic Mom Says No!

My son Jack is 10-years old, and he hasn't known a day in his entire life that America was not at war. I'm referring to the current War on Terror. Can you imagine that? I'm sure he thinks nothing of it. But for those of you of my generation who grew up in a relatively war-free America, a lifetime of war is daunting.

Today Syria is everywhere. Inescapable and most people have a strong opinion on US military involvement. I've tried to leave politics out of this blog, but not today. Today I say no. The US should not get involved in Syria unless Washington can come up with some really good reasons and a logical plan of action.

I see it as a battle between the head and the heart. The head says: "of course we should strike Syria." The US must show our credibility and bomb Syria. Assad should not go unchecked for using chemical weapons against his own people. Unfortunately thousands of innocent Syrians had to die or flee their country before Assad pulled out the chemical weapons and joined the ranks of Hitler, Mussolini, and Hussein.

Then there is the heart. "If the US strikes, thousands more innocent lives will be lost on all sides. American lives as well." And for what gain? Involving the US in yet another mid-east crisis? No thanks. Americans are war weary and want success in the War on Terror, not air strikes that will accomplish little except a meagre show of force.

As I see it, neither side is a clear winner for the US to back, and we would be choosing the lesser of two evils neither of which we could control. Indecision and taking sides is playing out not only in Washington, but on the world stage.

I'm not remotely a foreign policy expert, but I'm following my heart on this one. I'll join the 80% of Americans (Reuters-Ipsos poll) who oppose military action in Syria. I'll go one step further and let my Congresswoman know. I can see no good that can come out of it, especially since no clear plan of action has emerged from Washington. Bombing for the sake of bombing is a waste.

I want my son to know a day without war. Maybe other chic moms out there will also say no.

To contact your member of Congress, visit: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Monday, September 2, 2013

Even Tinier Airplane Toilets Arriving Soon

Just when you thought that bathrooms on airplanes couldn't possibly get any smaller, the bathroom designers at Delta Airlines prove you wrong. Isn't 3' x 3' tiny enough?

While traveling home from San Francisco aboard a Delta flight, I was reading through the New York Times Magazine from September 1. A black and white drawing caught my eye, and I was immediately shocked at just how far the airlines will go to carve out a few more seats in Economy.

Yes, you're seeing that correctly. Squatty potty now takes on a new meaning. From the looks of this picture passengers will have to double over just to get into the loo. Hopefully all passengers are limber enough to squeeze into this little space. Delta claims the new design saves cabin space, creating four new seats in Economy. These new bathrooms will be introduced in the Economy class of Delta's new Boeing 737-900 jets.

The masses of customers flying in coach will have a choice: either cram your body into this loo or hold it for a few hours. At 5'2" I can probably squash myself into this space, but can a 6'3" male wedge himself into this space-saving toilet. Doubtful.

Is Delta trying to make customers stop flying its airline? It sure seems that way.