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August 21st, 2006:

Party in da house

No one fell off the crooked front porch or got sick from the food (not that I know of, anyway) – so I’d deem our first official (big) party a huge success! Our friend S did cut his finger using my amazing ceramic knives – but a bandaid was all it took and the salad was no worse for the wear (well, at least I couldn’t taste the blood). (For those of you who come cook in our house, consider yourselves warned – they’re lethal!)

We had about 30-35 people there all total, with some conspicuously absent (you know who you are, Ms. Mayonnaise F.!), in an excellent crowd of friends, family, ex-boyfriends (for me) and long-lost friends (for Adam). Our dear friends Ed and Marni totally saved the day, as usual, by coming early and staying late – we are quite a team, the four of us (including Adam of course), and I think we should figure out how to make more use of our collective party-throwing capabilities. We also received a bunch of housewarming gifts – very unexpected, really (no, really, I mean it) – but very much appreciated, and will be appreciated by many others in the future as they consisted of no fewer than six yummy bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne, the New York Times Jewish Cookbook, a Pampered Chef bag of cool stuff, a challah plate, and other assorted house/kitchen-related gifty things. Thank you, everyone, it was very unnecessary and very, very nice!

I think the food was excellent, if I do say so myself, and I’ve heard pretty good reviews on it today. It was a tortilla fiesta – we went directly to the tortilla factory on Herriott street (about four blocks from the house) to get fresh-made little corn tortillas, and then I made carne asada (thanks, Ed, for the grilling lesson), shredded chicken, spiced veggies, a number of salads and a bunch of taco toppings, and then people rolled their own. We also had dessert, including a very special cake from the bakery around the corner which I’m sure Adam will blog about when he gets a chance later this week. Definitely a meal that fit the neighborhood.

More on doing major cooking in the kitchen in a later post – definitely worth a post of its very own. Suffice it to say I had all six burners going on Friday evening! Woo-hoo!

The house held up well in its first major outing, I think, and let me be the first person to say “I told you so” to Adam about opening up the walls between the kitchen and the living room and widening the door from the kitchen to the dining room. The circulation was really good and it was definitely not too noisy from room to room. The only hitch, and a lesson learned: the stool sitting at the peninsula in the kitchen cannot stay there for future parties, because once someone sits down at it, all traffic circulation bets are off. You must have a contingency plan for getting in and out of the kitchen/dining room after that – it’s like finding a bottleneck at Disneyworld when you’re trying to stay on a touring plan.

I’m already thinking about the Jewish holidays and Thanksgiving and how to make the house go from a buffet party for 35 to a sit-down dinner for 20 or 25 (and what to do when we can’t use the front porch!) I think it’s do-able, it will just take a lot of effort on the part of my big, strong man to move all the furniture a few times before we figure out how it can all work. But maybe I’ll let him rest up for a few weeks first.