Kitchen Tales

Every Hand Counts

that means you!


Lindsay, September 11, 2011, 8:45 am | Kitchen Tales

I have always like to cook for people. In law school, I used to have “a few friends over for dinner” and it would turn into 25 people crammed into my living room trying to eat Pat’s Chicken standing up. The girls will fondly (who am I kidding) remember standing over my dresser in my bedroom peeling potatoes because the kitchen was tiny and full of people performing activities that required the stove or sink.

One of my party staples is requiring guests to pitch in. You know how people say “need any help?” as a courtesy on their way to grab a drink? I pretend they are serious and hand them a knife and a task. In some cases, it’s a whole list of tasks, like creating meatball sliders and the accompanying marinara sauce (I’ll never be forgiven for that one). If someone is rude enough to not ask to help, they will still get a utensil and a task. It’s part of the fun. I’m not above asking someone I just met, or a guy with a cast on one wrist (I’ve done both).

As if putting my guests to work is not already obnoxious enough, I am also very strict about how they execute the tasks. This is my mom’s fault. If you are tasked with chopping tomatoes for a salad, the tomato must be deseeded (I’m not as crazy as my mom and don’t peel my tomatoes). If you get the cucumber, it must not only be peeled and seeded, but it must be diced into the same size chunks as the tomato. My salads do not include half moon shaped cucumbers. Don’t ask.

I understand that people are not coming to a party hoping to ruin their outfit when the oil spatters on it or cut their finger while chopping, but to me, it’s a fun activity we can all do together. It certainly helps avoid the awkward moments when the first guests arrive and they are people I hardly know and have little to say to.

I am not advocating this for the rest of the world. All toasty is teaching me to choose items that can be made or prepped ahead of time and follow the timelines we have put together.