Julian, our boychick, turned 10 this week and for his birthday requested a seven course dinner party for him and a few of his closest friends. We discussed the menu for a couple of weeks. He would mention something he liked or wanted and we would figure out together how to do it for the party. As the party was one of her suggestions and Castle Keifovic only has seating for four, CSG and the Carpenter volunteered to have the party at their house, here after known as The Restaurant, and the Carpenter would wait table. This is something he has done a time or two in the past, and as a former theater geek, he could work a cheesy “waiter” accent.
Our finalized menu was as follows:
Amuse bouche: homemade baked potato rounds with peach ketchup
Appetizer: deviled tea eggs with sesame and chive
Soup: yellow pea potage with sour cream and chive
Salad: sour cream waldorf on red butter lettuce
Main: chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce (or for our peanut allergic person: orange-ginger sauce)
Cheese course: chevre, smoked gouda, and sharp Vermont cheddar with black pepper water crackers, flame grapes and sliced gala apple
Dessert: individual molten chocolate cakes with cassis whipped cream
You can see the kid-friendly mixed with the more grown up. Julian wanted kabobs of some sort but we decided satay would be easier and he could eat the peanut sauce with a spoon happily, if I would let him. The potato rounds were to be chips but they didn’t crisp as well in the oven as I had hopped so we changed our strategy on those. The deviled tea eggs were my idea as were the soup and salad, partly because Julian couldn’t think of what he wanted for those courses and I told him he had to have some vegetables involved in the menu (yes, even though it was his birthday).
We had the party the Sunday before Labor Day and due to a slow weekend at the hotel I would up with the day before, the day of and the day after off. Good thing that. Saturday I made the peach ketchup, which needed to sit in the frig for 24 hours to meld, the peanut sauce, the soup, boiled the eggs and left them to soak in the tea, and sliced up and marinated the chicken. Julian helped in the kitchen especially with pulling ingredients and helping put stuff away again.
Sunday dawned and I slept in, not something I get to do very often these days. I did eventually drag my sleepy booty out of bed and made the batter for the cakes and portioned it into ramekins for later. I made the deviled part of the deviled eggs and the orange-ginger sauce for our one peanut allergic guest. My sister arrived with the guest of honor, Julian’s cousin M. and the surprise guest, my mom. Julian didn’t know she was coming. I didn’t know she was coming until that week. We visited, Keifel went to China Dragon for take out for lunch and I started packing up all the stuff that had to be transported to finish cooking and reheating things at CSG’s.
Keifel left off the invitations the fact that the guests were supposed to dress for dinner and I had asked Julian to call everyone or talk to them and let them know. He did but only Julian (because we made him wear a tie) and the girls went all out. Sadly, to me at least, we no longer live in a world where anyone knows who Emily Post is or why it might be important to follow some standard procedures of courtesy. It is my understanding the one does not arrive late, fashionably or otherwise, to a dinner party because food is being prepared for service at the set time. About half of our guests were late. Julain had also invited a child from his new school and we had asked on the invitations to RSVP. This child had not. We assumed he was not coming and I had bought groceries and we had set the table accordingly. He did come. We scrambled and set another place and sadly our lovely waiter didn’t get any satay despite his definite appreciation of it.
Thankfully, Keifel and sis disappeared and got some adult beverages for the “staff” to enjoy or I might have had a revolt on my hands. Despite my bitching about manners the children were all relatively polite and either tried stuff or politely refused. Mom and Sis got seats at the bar and tried everything. It was great to have them there but I found it made me a little nervous as it was the first time I had cooked a full meal for either of them since the cooking school adventure began. I guess I wanted to be certain they felt Keifel was getting his money’s worth out of paying for this and I wasn’t wasting my time.
Julian ate everything and was a great host even making a very short speech. One of the girls said it was the most wonderful party she had ever been to, one of the boys said it was the weirdest party he had ever been to and then they played Cranium and disappeared to the backyard to play flashlight tag in their dress togs.
All in all, I think Julian was pleased. We were sitting on the couch the next evening after Sis and Mom had gone and Keifel had gone to work and he said that he must have inherited a lot from me, that I was a great cook and party thrower and he had really enjoyed being a host and choosing the menu. He also said the peach ketchup was awesome.
edited to include pictures here.