By Vicki Brown
I’ve said it before. I am the Queen of Disasters. It happens every single time I invite people over for dinner. It never fails.
I think it’s because I judged someone once. We were invited to a couple’s home for dinner, and I couldn’t believe the chaos. Light switches with no switch plates, frames not around doors, plywood down for flooring, etc. The hostess said that her husband had been working on their house for seven years and it was a work in progress. Seriously? I would have killed him by then. But you know, the Bible says not to judge anybody, and I think all my hostess troubles have been heavenly payback.
Cases in point:
I had a friend and colleague who was pregnant, so I offered to have her baby shower in my home. To cut down on my nerves, I asked my mother to make pretty cupcakes for the occasion. I also made a variety of snacks and delicacies, and I decorated the table beautifully…even using silver trays and utensils. I was really proud of how the house and table looked and was ready for the shower which was planned for the next day.
Later that same afternoon, as I leaned on the table to read my “To Do” list, I felt myself slowly moving downward, like in slow motion. Horrified, I stepped away from the table and realized that the tabletop was sitting a foot off the floor. Now that’s something you don’t see every day.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was 4:30 p.m., the day before I was to host a baby shower in my house, and my table was sitting on the floor! I screeched for my husband…my white knight.
He came in as I was teary, blubbering about the table, and lifting it up, he noticed that the entire pedestal under the tabletop had split open.
Now, I have said before how my poor husband is highly intelligent and has a PhD but can’t fix a thing. So just staring at the disaster wasn’t helping. He grabbed me and the car keys, and off we went to the nearest furniture store where we purchased a new table and chairs. They promised to deliver first thing the next morning, the day of the shower, and I prayed they were right.
Sure enough, the next day the table and chairs arrived…ONE HOUR before the party. I am pretty sure I had a conniption fit while anxiously waiting for them to arrive.
On another occasion, I was invited to someone’s house for dinner and was asked to bring a dessert. I made a beautiful tort in a glass bowl. It was so pretty. Layers of pound cake, strawberries, blueberries, vanilla custard, and whipped cream made the dessert so colorful. It was a work of art. I put the plastic lid on the bowl and went out to the car….where I promptly opened the car door, which hit the glass bowl, which flew out of my hands, which then landed in the driveway and shattered. Pudding, berries, and whipped cream everywhere. Unbelievable.
Another time, I was asked to make a sheet cake for a party. The cake and chocolate icing turned out fine, but I had the bright idea to make decorative swirls around the bottom edge of the cake with canned whipped cream. At first it was beautiful! But by the time I arrived at the party, the South Carolina heat and humidity and done a number on the whipped cream, and it created a runny white mess around the cake, dripping off the cake platter.
Many years ago, I wanted to make something special for a Valentine’s Party at my church. I decided to make petit fours. Petit fours are tiny square cakes with thin icing poured over them and hardened. So I made a thin sheet cake, and using a heart cookie cutter, cut them out and poured the icing over them. They hardened and looked awesome! But when people began to eat them, someone said, “These are rather unusual. They taste different, but good.”
A little surprised, I ate one and then realized what a dingdong I had been. In my haste to make the icing, I had not grabbed the bottle of vanilla that the recipe called for, but instead I had grabbed the bottle of maple flavoring off the shelf. We were all sitting around eating maple flavored heart petit fours. They tasted like pancakes. Oh well.
If you think that ends my history of food disasters, you haven’t been reading my column for very long. Nope. Not a chance. If you know me at all you know that I was saving the best for last. Stay tuned for Hostess Horrors Part Three: The Saga.