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about entertaining, cooking, etiquette and more.
boy and I have always been exceedingly bad about planning ahead. It's
one of the hazards, I suppose, of not having normal jobs; with the boy
immersed in the academic life and me being blissfully self-employed,
we've never had to deal with pesky grown-up matters like negotiating
vacation time. Sometimes, this lack of organization on our parts is a
bad thing (like when each Christmas, we find ourselves stuck paying way
too much money to fly back home because we've waited until two weeks
before to start researching plane fares for the busiest travel period of
the year). On the other hand, one of the perks of being woefully unable
to think about anything that's happening more than three weeks from the
present is that I've developed a certain talent for pulling things
together at last-minute's notice.
by Yee-Fan Sun |
1 2 3
In the realm of hosting folks
chez nous, it's been particularly handy. I love having friends over, but
big elaborate parties tend to require big elaborate planning, and
consequently, they're the sort of thing I manage to throw only once in a
blue moon. But smaller, fuss-free gatherings organized on a whim? Way
more doable on a regular basis. Especially now that experience has
taught me that it actually is possible to assemble a presentable party
spread without going out on a mad supermarket rampage or obsessing
endlessly over the perfect menu.
Of course, knowing a few
tricks helps, as does ensuring that the cupboards always have a few key
ingredients lurking around. Here are a few ideas for stocking a
party-ready pantry, and turning ingredients you probably already have
sitting around in the kitchen into tasty, inexpensive nibbles on less
than an hour's notice…
- Ice cream: With a
tub or two of good ice cream kept on call in the freezer, you'll
always be ready to serve up a no-culinary-skills-required dessert
for last-minute guests. Dress it up with whatever fresh fruit you
can scrounge up, a sprig of mint from your windowsill
herb garden, that leftover Easter (or Halloween, or
whatever) candy perhaps. Alternatively, zizz it up with milk to make
milkshakes, or add to cola or root beer for a refreshing round of
- Frozen fruit:
Whether you buy the ready-frozen bags or freeze up your slightly
over-ripe fruit as it accumulates (spotty bananas
and too-squashy strawberries might not be good for eating straight,
but can be chunked up, frozen and used in all sorts of recipes),
frozen fruit offers a host of minimal-effort dessert possibilities.
Toss them in the blender along with some ice cream or yogurt and ice
for frosty smoothies
in the summer, or try throwing frozen berries into a saucepan along
with sugar, a smidge of water and cornstarch, then cooking it down
to make a fruity sauce (the sauce can be poured over ice cream or,
if you're game for a little cooking, served with crepes).
lounge . nourish
host . laze
. home .