Does entertaining stress you out? Does it seem that some of your friends have it so together that you may as well not try? Well I am here to tell you, no matter how much experience we have, we all flub up, sometimes pretty badly. For as many events as I have done and as much food as I have cooked over the years, you would think I would be past certain mistakes. But NOOO. Every once in a while we just have to eat some humble pie. So if you want to feel really good about your hosting skills, read on.
The other night we hosted a wedding shower/engagement party BBQ. We were planning for about 35 people. The day before, my friend came over and we boiled eggs in the instant pot for deviled eggs.
But after a good first batch, they all seemed to have a tan. But we kept going. We thought we were just getting distracted and letting them stay on the heat too long but in retrospect, I think my machine just runs hot. Anyway, we had a couple dozen that we couldn't use. I mean I like smoked food but this was pushing it.
The Lesson? Adjust course and change cooking times if necessary.
The Upside? Chopped up with some mayo, the eggs got camouflaged and my kids enjoyed egg salad for a few days.
Next up was the Butter Brickle Frozen Delight dessert. I had eaten the recipe but never made it. (FYI, this photo is from All Recipes.)
I started by having to adjust it to fit pie pans instead of spring form pans because I didn't have enough. The graham cracker crust called for what I thought to be too much butter so I halved it. But then I had a feeling it was not going to bind together and I was right. The crust was, let's just say, not cohesive. But I was still hoping the freezer stage could provide a miracle. It didn't.
I didn't screw up the filling, fortunately, so no story there.
Next was the brickle, which is a cross between streusel and brittle. This aspect called for oats but when I went to open the cylinder that I thought was oats, I found grits. In case you were wondering, these are NOT interchangeable. So I thought, 'what has oats in it? I know, the stale box of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios'. So I pulverized them (shouldn't have done that) along with the pecans, butter, flour, and brown sugar. I was supposed to bake them into a gooey, candy-like substance. Only, dust does not become candy. It just becomes hot dust.
By this point I had too much money and time invested. So I took away half of the dust, added coarsely chopped pecans and more brown sugar then returned it to the oven with high hopes. The result? Chunky dust. But it tasted good. I had enough ingredients for six pies so I had a lot riding on the success of this dessert.
I assembled my crumbling crust, with creamy filling, topped it with the chunky dust and a jar of caramel sauce, put it in the freezer and hoped for a transformation.
- Keep forging ahead.
- Talk to the person who gave you the recipe.
- Adjust when something's not quite right.
The Upside? After doing it's time in the freezer, I served it and it was SO GOOD! I was super relieved and amazed!
Next up was a sticky disaster.
Two hours before the party, the hubs, the master of beverages, was mixing up lemonade in a two-gallon glass carafe. Suddenly, with no provocation, a 3" x 4" hole blew out the side. Lemonade went absolutely EVERYWHERE! Did I mention that it was sugar lemonade? On top of that, we tried the shop vac and it decided to not cooperate.
The Lesson? Keep calm, get the mop, and have lots of old towels at the ready.
The Upside? Our floor got really clean!
The last fiasco involved the Macaroni and Cheese. I have made this so many times before. I have even blogged about it. But boy did I goof!
The day before, my friend and I had cooked all the noodles, put them in the pans, then just spread the shredded cheese on top. I always add the liquid right before baking so the noodles don't absorb it all.
Well, the day of the party, I got distracted. I put the beautifully cheesy dishes in the oven. After about 45 minutes, I looked at the melted cheese and realized that I had forgotten ALL of the liquid. Fortunately, by this time I had two accomplished cooks in the kitchen with me. One of them, Christie, stirred up the mixture, added about half of the liquid called for and we baked them until done.
The Lesson? Write down all of your tasks for party day. Once people arrive, it is super easy to be distracted.
The Upside? The Macaroni and Cheese turned out great and with less dairy! Maybe I need to rewrite the recipe.
To sum up, we all are human and all make mistakes. Fortunately, in the face of eternity, messing up a dinner party means nothing.
If you want to try your hand at any of these recipes, they are all worth it.