I don’t do a lot of entertaining. Having friends over usually means serving dinner and I’m not much of a cook. So when I do invite people over I try to set reasonably low expectations. I may ask something like, “Do you have a Cheez-Whiz allergy?”
Sometimes the gods will be smiling on me when I invite my in-laws over for dinner. My mother-in-law will say, “That’s wonderful. I’ll bring dinner.” There’s nothing like having a dinner guest who brings the meal. She is a fantastic cook. She can whip up a meal for 30 people with a half hour’s notice and it will taste like she’s been slaving away for hours.
I also don’t watch sports (if you don’t count the opening ceremonies for the Olympics; I like the parade of nations). So imagine my husband’s surprise when I told him we were hosting a Super Bowl party this year. “To watch the game?” he asked, with a horrified look on his face. “And the commercials,” I reassured him.
There were going to be seventeen of us in all. I wanted to have enough appetizers so that everyone would be able to find something they liked. I believe what you lack in quality can be made up in quantity. I envisioned people spread out all over the house, some watching the game in the family room, some lounging in the living room, others gathered around the dining room table sharing stories while the appetizers magically floated from room to room.
The guests, however, stayed glued to the TV in the family room, where the chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, and Spanakopita from Costco were on the coffee table. The appetizers that were strategically placed in other rooms were largely untouched; a fig and olive tapenade with goat cheese, a veggie platter with low-fat dip, a bowl of kim-chee and a plate of California rolls.
We did empty a few bottles of wine and lots of bottles of beer, and everyone seemed to have a good time. So I guess it doesn’t matter that the 5-pound bag of peanuts is still a 5-pound bag of peanuts. There’s always next year.