We had about 20 folks over for dinner last night - some out-of-town visitors along with a few people from Bart's office. I guess, with all of those federal agents in my house, it was either the safest place or the least safe place to be in all of Amman last night.
I realized, mid-way through the preparations, that it was probably the first dinner party I've ever pulled off without Bart's help. Normally, we do these things on the weekend, and he does a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of getting the rooms clean and the tables organized so I can focus on the food. This time, however, because the guests were only in town for a day, we had to do it on a week night.
It turned out okay. In case you foodies out there are interested, here's what I served: For an appetizer, I baked brie with garlic and honey in puff pastry. This is perhaps the most delicious food in the universe. For dinner, we had cheese lasagna (my mom's is better), meatballs (ditto), spinach and basil salad, a veggie platter and the most beautiful fruit platter, with fresh Jordanian figs and red grapes. Brownies for dessert, along with some tiny sweets I bought from a local bakery.
And voila! That was it.
It used to be easier to pull off these dinner parties, back when we were young'uns. Because we were some of the first of our peers to get married, most of the people who came to our house for dinner were single guys and Marines - these people are just grateful for a homecooked meal, and if you overcook the chicken or underdress the salad, they aren't going to care. As more of our peers have gotten married, they've become more food-focused. So when one of the guests walked in and started telling me how he loves to spend weekends cooking, and then detailed some of the things he can prepare, I knew was in trouble.
All in all, it was pretty fun. I enjoy cooking for guests, both because the cooking itself is fun, and because I don't have to hold too many in-depth conversations when I'm busy in the kitchen (the deaf ear thing makes it hard for me to follow conversations in crowded situations, and sometimes it's nice not to have to try).
Tonight's menu: leftover lasagna for the adults, and maybe I'll pull together a simple pesto for the kids if they're lucky. I'm not much in the mood to make a mess of the kitchen today for some reason.