This a story of my lapse in etiquette and I am probably throwing myself under the bus for even submitting this. You can all tell me if you think I was completely horrible or if I was somewhat justified in my behavior. I have recently attended a dinner party at the home of my good friends, Annie & John. They are relatively good cooks – John especially cooks a great steak and they like to try new recipes and do some different things. The dinner was quite small, it consisted of my husband and me, Annie & John and 3 other people. We arrive and are the first there. There are appetizers and we chat with our friends for a little while. The other guests come shortly thereafter. As is the case with Annie & John nothing happens immediately. They are already somewhat prepared and nothing they made or are making will take any real time to cook. I understand It is a delicate dance when cooking so that everything is ready at the same time so the entire dinner can be served all at the same time. They are lovely hosts and I can’t fault the fact that they supplied a nice dinner and were friendly and talkative.
So, we wait a couple hours for them to get the show on the road. I understand that there needs to be some time to chat, it should be a leisurely meal not a frantic pace: time to eat a few appetizers – have a couple cocktails but this always seems to be their MO. It isn’t the first time we’ve waited hours before sitting down for dinner. So we wait, I expected to wait but the house is unbearably hot. It a warm day in summer, upper eighties, the air conditioning isn’t on and all the windows are closed. We have a cocktail – and they tell us that they are running quite low and are almost out of ice. The ice they do have smells and tastes funny. I thought perhaps it was just me and my drink – and I tried to discreetly to get my husband’s attention to ask if his drink tasted similarly while the hosts are out of the room. I tap the glass a few times and point at my glass and my great husband says quite loud – “why are you doing that? I don’t know what tapping the glass means!!” It is loud enough so that John hears and he comes and asks me if there is anything wrong. I say no – everything is fine, it’s all good. I should have just asked my husband later in the car on the way home but no, like a lousy friend and guest I ended up embarrassing myself and I’m now furious with my husband for being so obvious!!
We go outside, since it’s so hot and wait some more. I refrain from drinking any more of my cocktail and I really can’t make a new one because there isn’t any more ice which was probably a good thing. Finally, Annie tells us to come in for dinner. She serves us salad. John is outside now grilling the steaks and doesn’t come in for the salad portion. We finish eating the salad and sit there and wait. My husband gets up from the table to go outside because it has now been a ten minute wait and the sweat is pouring down his face. I look around and except for Annie, we are all sweating. Next Annie brings in the mashed potatoes. We pass the potatoes around and since the steaks still aren’t finished we end up eating those too. We wait a little longer and finally in comes John with the steaks. I’m thinking – well the vegetable should come out now – I mean – veggies don’t take all that long to cook – and they were probably done for some time since we waited so long for the steaks. No – we are well in to the steaks before the vegetables arrive.
Finally, dinner is over. We all make a beeline for the living room since the dining room is now very hot from all seven of us being in there together and from the heat of the kitchen. Well, for my next infraction: when we come into the equally warm living room I’m afraid I went ahead and opened a couple of windows. I understand it is their home and they have a right to keep it how they like it but it is so hot I couldn’t help myself. I could see that my husband is now exhausted and overheated. I thought this would help matters and we could enjoy the rest of the evening chatting with everyone in a more comfortable setting. Annie and John decide now that they will entertain us with pictures from their recent trip to Iceland so we grab what is left of our wine from dinner. For the entire dinner they had planned on 2 bottles for all seven of us and both bottles are both now pretty much exhausted.
I have to admit that yeah – I do want to see what Iceland is like. It is probably quite interesting. Well, the first hundred pictures were in fact, interesting. We also watch a couple of videos. The pictures are of the natural terrain and they have quite a few beautiful waterfalls, craters, geysers etc. Yeah, quite a bit. They decide now to serve dessert. We have a hour drive to get home and decide to skip dessert and go home. Once in the car, my husband says that it was just awful. He said, we ate our meal in increments and he was so bored with the thousands of pictures from their trip and there wasn’t anything more to drink. 0929-16
I can have pity on hosts who struggle to get every element of a meal prepared and ready to serve at the same time. It takes practice. This, however, sounds like torture.