Last night, Shirley and I hosted a "Hungry for Obama" dinner. Think "grassroots fundraising meets communal dinner" and you have the basic idea of the HfO dinners. A host invites people over and feeds them. The guests donate to the Obama campaign, then pledge to host their own dinner, sort of a viral fundraising concept.
Shirley came over around 5, and we started: Shirley as the lead chef and I as her sous.
Now, I know my kitchen is small. Someday soon, I'd like to fix that by opening up the wall between the kitchen and the livingroom and pushing out the front door to the front of the house where it belongs and not the porch cave that it's in now. That someday comes closer every time something else fails in that room. The lights burnt out a month ago, prompting a livingroom light to be moved into the kitchen. The dishwasher started making horrible noises a week ago. The broiler on the oven failed years ago. A few other problems keep growing. At some point, I'm just going to insist that the kitchen be fixed and be fixed NOW. I warned Kris that it would happen, so he's a least somewhat prepared for it.
Unfortunately, that kitchen remodel hasn't happened yet, and Shirley and I did the small kitchen dance. The small kitchen dance with lots of countertop rearranging.
Shirley had planned on eight tapas dishes. She was quite organized with the whole dinner, bringing over food items (three bags and a box) and some bowls and the like. She didn't bring much equipment ("I know your kitchen is well stocked," she commented), but the spices she had covered.
Shirley had written down the recipes, by hand, which means you know she reviewed each and every line of the recipe.
The food was amazing. Shirley made a potato and egg Spanish omelette (yum!), a lentil stew, hot hot hot salsa to go with some pita breads, amazing shrimp, croistinis, meatballs, cucumber yogurt dip, and an orange and onion fruit salad. The food was, of course, fabulous.
Well, except the croisitinis. They didn't exactly turn out well. As Shirley said, "What's a dinner party without a disaster?"
Chris was helping out in the kitchen, because, you know, two chefs in a small kitchen isn't enough, you need THREE chefs in a small kitchen to do the small-kitchen ballet. I think he was cooking meatballs, but it might have been the omelette, when we all started smelling a burning smell. We checked the burners, as one had been turned on incorrectly earlier in the cooking process, and we wondered if that was it. No, wasn't it, what was it?
Of course, that whole "what's a dinner party without a disaster?" question wasn't quite done with us yet. While everyone was happily eating, I stepped into the kitchen to do a little clean up.
And walked straight into a puddle that reached to the fridge.
Six beach towels, four hand towels and a lot of sponge wringing later, I discovered the source of the leak. A pipe under the sink had burst.
I turned off all of the water generating sources, which included the dishwasher which was running, and the faucet which wasn't. I mopped up the mess as best I could, and was about to leave the kitchen with everything from under the sink sitting on the countertops when Chris walked into the kitchen. After I told him what happened, he asked me for duct tape. Several pieces later and I didn't have to immediately worry about the kitchen flooding.
Of course, that's one more disaster in the kitchen, which leads Kris and I just one more step on our way to a desperately needing a new kitchen.