Thursday, August 15, 2013

We'll bring dessert

     Sunday evening we had some friends and family over for dinner. Although they live in the same state, we don't get to see them very often. One of our guests, my dear old friend Kole (a career-bachelor-clearly-not-given- the-gift-of-hospitality) volunteered to bring the dessert. I should have known better.
     We worked all day preparing and cooking and planning the dinner. Everything was ready, the house looked great, food was in the oven and steaks on the grill. Our company arrived and as we greeted them I was ceremoniously handed a jar of brownie mix by said career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality. "Here's dessert. I thought we could make this." He said with a charming smile. "Oh" I replied, "Thanks." I turned the jar in my hands and stared at it in disbelief. "You shouldn't have. REALLY. You shouldn't have." In an attempt to hide my suprise, I set the jar aside and told my guest that we would just play it by ear. Maybe we wouldn't even want dessert.... (I certainly didn't feel like cooking something else and dirtying more dishes.) I had expected a cake, some cookies, maybe even a plate of brownies, but certainly not brownie ingredients in a sad little glass canning jar.
      We enjoyed a wonderful meal and great conversation. Then, someone said something about wanting a little something sweet."Here are some grapes," I suggested hopefully."No, I was thinking something cakey. We could make the brownies!" Piped up the career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality. "Um, yeah, I don't really want to bake that." I replied truthfully. Someone asked, "Where did it come from anyway?" The career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality answered, "Oh, I got it for Christmas once." Someone somewhere asked if it was still good, suggesting that maybe the ingredients had since expired. We looked at the jar and decided that you can't really tell, and chose not to bake it. Happy me. Instead, my dear friend Howard and I volunteered to drive to the store and find something else.
     We ended up at a little restaurant that offered two choices for dessert, Banana cream or Chocolate cream pie. We ordered one of each and drove toward home. On the way back Howard confided in me ,"Jo, I hate that jar! I just hate it! I can't believe he brought that!"  I asked how long his brother, (the career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality) had been bringing the jar to dinner parties and Howard said he was not sure. By his calculations it was at least 2 years though. We arrived home, the pie was devoured. Soon after everyone started to leave. As he was leaving, I handed the career-bachelor-clearly-not-given-the-gift-of-hospitality the jar of brownie mix. "Here," I told him, take it with you. You can try to give it to your next hostess." As you read this post, there is at this very moment, somewhere in or near Riverside California, a cold little jar of brownie mix just waiting to make its' way to another dinner party given by another unsuspecting hostess....
      I want to make very clear that bringing a gift for your hostess is truly not necessary, nothing is expected in return. But for all of you who may want to bring a gift but do not know the proper etiquette of what to give your hostess, I have compiled a list to help you along:
     1) A nice bottle of extra virgin olive oil (I couldn't tell you the difference between virgin and extra virgin, in my book you either are, or are not virgin, but what ever)
     2) A scented bar of luxury hand soap (NOT Irish Springs, Lava soap, or Ivory by any means)
     3) A new or antique book on a subject they are interested in (perhaps "Taxidermy for beginers "
     4) A bouquet of flowers, unless of course your hostess suffers from hay fever
     5) A bottle of white wine for cooking (but NEVER under any circumstances should you bring a box of wine. That my friends is tacky to the umph degree. Just trust me here.)

     I have also compiled a short list of things NOT to bring:
     1) A jar of brownie mix gifted to you at Christmas 2 years ago
     2) A jar of ANYTHING gifted to you at Christmas 2 years ago
     3) A set of hubcaps
     4) Fruitcake
     5) The litter of ferrel kittens that has been living under your floorboards for the past week and a half
     I guarantee that if you stick to these guidelines, you will have a happy hostess. A happy hostess will invite you over again. Another invite means another free meal and a lovely evening with friends. You are welcome.
     Miss Jodi