Category Archives: Dinner Party

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I think I like decorating for a dinner party as much as the party itself!  Here are the goofy decs for my party–bar on the patio not yet set up as there is supposed to be a tropical storm hitting at 3 a.m.  Let’s hope it stages a Patricia!  The turkeys on the backs of the cow are a takeoff of cattle egrets that pick ticks off the backs of cows and also pick through their manure for edibles…My little Thanksgiving weird humor.  Nineteen now expected for Thanksgiving comida…All will share by bringing a side dish–all of the usuals.  Hope you have a happy day.  Judy

Dining In

Dining In

A dinner party with my favorite famous people invited?  Go HERE to see my answer!


If you want to see how others answered this question, go here:

Campaign Financing and Other Political Solutions


If you had been a fly on the wall at Linda and Steve’s house last week when Dan and Laurie and I came for dinner, this is some of the silly (or not so silly) discussion you might have overheard.

About the ridiculous amount spent on political campaigns in an attempt to “buy” the election or slur the other candidate:

Judy says, “No candidate should be able to spend any money on campaigns. Radio and TV stations should provide an equal amount of time for each candidate to state their beliefs and platforms and that is it!”

Linda added, more entertainingly: “I think that they should make every election into a reality series.  What American could resist watching Obama and Romney swap wives?  I would have loved to have seen Michelle chew Mitt’s ass in twenty different ways.  Or, determine the election by means of duels. Every single election, you’d get rid of 50 percent of the politicians.”

Judy: “What about survivor? You put them all together, naked, on an island with only the amount of health care they support for the masses to come to their aid in case of snake bite, sunburn or heart attack.

Dan and Laurie: “Or make it an amazing race. Put “I support gay marriage” on their bumper sticker and send them through the deep south. Or “The Earth is Flat” through California.

I lost track of who said this: “Or, create a bumper sticker that would make them all face a similar risk no matter where they go: Nuke a Gay Whale for Jesus–and see how adept they are at getting out of difficult situations.”

Okay viewers, a challenge. What sort of reality show would you like to suggest for political candidates to prove their mettle?

Sate´d, Shaken and Stir-fried

The Prompt: Shaken and Stirred—What’s the most elaborate, complicated meal you’ve ever cooked? Was it a triumph for the ages, or a colossal fiasco? Give us the behind-the-scenes story.

Sate’d, Shaken and Stir-fried

When I was in Thailand, age 19, I purchased a teak-handled brass cutlery set of 144 pieces—twelve place settings of 11 pieces each, 12 serving pieces. It was a beautiful set in a teakwood box the size of a suitcase, and I actually bought two of them! I was traveling by ship and so had no weight or luggage restrictions. Once I got back to the reality of the U.S. and realized what a pain it was to hand wash and polish all of these pieces, I never used them (and neither did my sister, who was the recipient of the other set)—except for once. I decided to plan one grand meal for 12 and to plan a menu that made use of every knife, spoon and fork. Although I’m sure I won’t be able to remember every course, I’m going to try, but as a memory aid, I first need to remember all of the pieces. Here goes: shrimp cocktail fork, salad fork, dinner fork, cake fork, demitasse spoon, teaspoon, soup spoon, ice tea spoon, steak knife, butter knife, table knife, cheese knife sugar spoon, 3 large serving spoons, salad serving fork, salad serving spoon, meat carving knife, meat serving fork, bread knife, pie server. Phew! I can’t believe how easily I remembered the pieces. It renews my faith in my memory and as an exercise, probably staved off Alzheimer’s for a few more years.

So, what I served, if I recall correctly, was an Indonesian meal and it probably included: shrimp cocktail in a sweet chili sauce, lemongrass sweet and sour coconut milk soup, cucumbers and sweet onions in yogurt and dill sauce, nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice) with mixed fresh vegetables, chicken sate in peanut sauce, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), deep fried rice noodles with scallions  (to replace the shrimp chips usually served with the nasi goreng), more sweet chili sauce to put over the rice and noodles. coconut ice cream (I believe we used the demitasse spoons for the ice cream) green tea ice cream, some sort of cake (This must have been so, to enable us to use those cake forks.) Tsing Tao Beer, iced tea and wine. I don’t know how I worked the cheese and butter knives in—probably during the hors d’ ouvres course.

I had set all the tables elaborately, using sarongs purchased in Bali as table cloths as well as batik napkins I’d had made there. Unfortunately, a friend who didn’t quite realize the planning that had gone into this, arrived late, just as we were sitting down to our meal, with four uninvited friends in tow! I am afraid I was less than gracious as I tried to gerrymander an extra table with regular stainless cutlery. The best-laid plans!!!! Many years later, I served a 13 course Chinese meal where I had guests bring the ingredients for one dish, which I sent them a list of. (I had on hand the unusual ingredients they would have had a hard time locating.) I think I was responsible for most of the dishes, but wanted them personally involved. When they arrived, I had a Chinese chef there who helped each to prepare their individual dish. Some of mine, I’d already made, but had him help me with one more complicated dish.

Most of the evening was spent cooking, but it was so much fun and by the time we sat down to our late meal, everyone’s mood had been elevated by numerous large-sized bottles of Tsing Tao beer—a vice I’d discovered in China and found a supply of in the trunk of the car of a drapery salesman whom I dated once—just long enough to buy the entire case of beer. I don’t know why he had it and why he was wanting to get rid of it, but it was another case of the synchronicity of those years in L.A. when all of life seemed to get sorted out and when I finally got on my way to becoming closer to who I wanted to be.




At any time of day or night,
I’m always open to a bite
of pastry stuffed with something nice,
in fact, pie is my favorite vice!

I am very very very
fond of all things flavored cherry,
and of all this cherry pleasure,
pie’s the one that I most treasure.

Good for breakfast, good for lunch,
on pumpkin pie, I love to munch.
Coconut or chocolate cream?
They are my fantasy and dream.

Banana, apple—oh, and peach!
Put one of them within my reach,
and I’ll purloin a piece or two.
No pie is safe within my view.

On the window ledge or table,
I’ll grab a piece if I am able.
In a coffee shop or grandma’s kitchen,
pie’s delicious. Pie is bitchin’

At picnics, parties, celebrations,
with coffee or with small libations,
at any occasion or event,
pie is the best accompaniment.

Yet there is one aspect of pie
that I hope never meets my eye.
I don’t like pie in just one place.
Please don’t shove it in my face!

Today, I’m using the weekly challenge: Pie—The scent of pastry baking, the sound of a fork clinking on a plate… This week, make our mouths water with stories about pie.




My ladies writing group is classy—never crass or gaudy.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I found they can be bawdy!
Just one impromptu potluck and a few bottles of wine
turned their metaphoric minds to matters far less fine.
For Jenny had just mentioned that a friend had lately lent her
a rather naughty film that nonetheless had really sent her
off into the paroxysms of unbridled laughter—
the kind that take you wave-on-wave and leave you aching after.
I’d been needing that for months—my life had been sedate
since my old gang had moved away and left me to my fate
of no last-minute games of train and late-night jubilation,
for though I still have good friends here, I lack that combination
of friends that I enjoy who all enjoy each other, too,
enough to create silliness to make my nights less blue.

“Bad Grandpa” was the film we watched, and though I must admit
I watched behind spread fingers for at least a fifth of it,
still the antics had us all just rolling on the floor
—starting with a snicker and then ending with a roar.
Scatology is not my thing, nor are pratfalls or shtick,
yet still I must admit to you, I got a real big kick
from this film filled with all of them, and so did all the others;
so as we watched, it felt like we were all sisters and brothers.
And as they left, I think we knew we’d shared a priceless treasure,
for there’s nothing that unites us like a mutual guilty pleasure!

The Prompt: When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?

Party of Twelve

The Prompt: Seat Guru—You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?

I chose twelve guests, plus myself. The seating chart is below. You will have to imagine me sitting in the exact middle of the table shaped like a ring around me.

Dinner for 12 seat chart

Party of Twelve

I have planned the dinner party, set the table, cooked the food,
but decisions about seating charts is ruining my mood;
for I want to sit by everyone, hear every conversation,
and trying to choose only two is causing consternation.
I think, therefore, I’d put me on a chair right in the center
on a sort of lazy Susan so I’d be able to enter
every conversation and to listen in on all,
seeing how they fare just like a fly upon the wall.

I’d have a little foot pedal to spin me at my ease—
enjoy Chaucer with my salad and Jane Austen with my cheese.
Jesus Christ and Whoopi could gang up on Rush and tell
why he’s the one who’s going to be broadcasting in Hell.
Osama bin Laden would be seated ear-to-ear
with Mohammed who would tell him what all terrorists should hear:
that the truth of the religion has got lost along the way,
for no one who is enlightened wants to kill and burn and slay.
Steve Martin would be there for fun to loosen up Osama
and spar with Rush to get his mind off Hillary and Obama.

I’d ask two people from real life to join us at the table:
Doug between the prophets so he’d finally be able
to be faced with the real men so he can sort out fact and fiction
and show it’s the religions that have caused us all the friction.
The men themselves had peace at heart and must bemoan the end
that power brokers bring the world to as their truth they bend.

The other person that I want to have here at my meal
is Ann Garcia, for I know her pleasure would be real.
Seated by Jane Austen, she would question her and tell
of her appreciation of the books she’s loved so well.
Barbara Kingsolver I’d seat upon on her other side.
She, too, would get much praise but also would have to abide
many interruptions from one listening from the middle,
for I’d be hopping back and forth like water on a griddle.

These people all are here because my curiosity
is whetted by my fantasies of what I’ll hear and see.
There is another guest that I’ve neglected to reveal,
but he is central to the plot of this illustrious meal.
Geoffrey Chaucer would be there to listen and relate
the story of this group of people that we love and hate.
So all the world could hear the tale of what we learned at table.
This earliest father of literature is surely the most able
to see the truth of character and spin a tale to tell
the truth of what will save our world from fire, brimstone, Hell!

And then, one final person I’d invite to be a guest
is Barbara Walters, who would come to interview the rest;
so we’d be sure that all received their moment in the sun,
and we could question them after her interview was done.

If you have any questions that you’d like an answer to,
most happily, I’ll ask them and pass answers on to you.
I will not mind a bit assuming this laborious task.
Just comment on this poem and say what you would like to ask
of Chaucer or of Jesus or of Whoopi or of Steve.
If they’re still here, I’ll ask them, or if they have chosen to leave,
I’ll channel them in poetry and say what I believe
they’d say if your request were one they could themselves receive.
But for now our party’s over and our guests have all departed.
Many better-fed, and (let’s hope) some more open-hearted!!!

P.S. The number of guests at my dinner party is coincidental. In no way is this poem meant to allude to another illustrious dinner of twelve plus one.

P.P.S.  Oops..Barbara Walters somehow got bounced off the seating chart.  I guess I’ll give her my seat and I’ll just roam around the perimeter, helping my sister serve the soup, but mostly just listening in and butting in. So this really should be called “Party of Thirteen.” I also had Will Rogers on my original seating plan, but he was somehow omitted.  It was my first time using the program that created the seating chart and it took me longer to get it together than to write the entire poem. Sorry Will, I’ll catch you later.  Perhaps devote an entire poem to you.