Five Common Entertaining Mishaps
Photo: CN Digital Studio
You’d assume that someone who’s cooked professionally for many years would have the art of entertaining down to a science. I wish I could say I’ve got it nailed, but every party teaches me something. One thing is for sure: Murphy’s Law—if anything can go wrong, it will—rules! Here are five likely mishaps and how to fix them.
- Market Upheaval: You saw it at the store a week ago, but suddenly one or more crucial ingredients you were counting on for your party, disappear. Don’t waste your energy obsessing over it. Figure out a substitution; you just might create something even better than the original dish you’d planned.
- Mechanical Failures: Oven on the blink? Hope you’re on good terms with your neighbors, or fire up your grill. Plumbing nightmares usually happen on weekends, when plumbers are either off, or charging double-time. Our sink and toilets backed up once, just as about 100 people arrived for an informal reception after a memorial service. Luckily, we were in the mountains with an outdoor hose and lots of trees.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: Although we live in a casual world, someone is likely to show up dressed to the nines – or perhaps, particularly if they don’t know you—inappropriately. Feel for them. Offer them a sweater—a turtleneck, perhaps?—in case their outfit is so skimpy, they’re shivering in your energy-saving environment.
- Illness: If you get sick and you’re cooking, cancel. No one wants your germs. A sick child presents more options. A cold can be quarantined, but the stomach flu presents icky problems. It’s only fair to call your guests and let them decide.
- Recipe Disasters: Keep your smartphone or computer handy, so that if something goes wrong with a recipe, you can google it to figure out a fix. If Google is where the Apple Genius Bar workers turn to for help, why not you? When you’re under a time crunch, the internet is faster than a panicked search among your cookbooks.