"Shhhh...Home Entertaining Secrets Every Fancy Lady Should Know" By Deborah Metz from 1981
"When there's silence or a lull, fill it with Steely Dan."1. Wednesday Night Fever - A party in the middle of the week is unexpected, and gives your interesting friends something to talk about on the weekend while they're at 'the expected' party thrown by a less interesting friend (known as 'the obligation' or 'first stop of the evening'.) By having people over for an intimate dinner of drinks and orrrr-derrrvs midweek, it says with confidence that: A) You aren't afraid to do things on a 'school night' and B) You got these people to come to your house first. If it sounds a little mean to take the wind out of the sails of the less party adept, it's really not. These are just the secrets to a good gathering.
People talk about the 'Holiday Season' as if this is the only time during the year to entertain. This is a foolish notion. Any time is the right time to entertain, just like any eyeshadow is the right eyeshadow to wear to a children's hospital. It's all about confidence. I'm going to share that confidence with you. I'm going to let it sit with you and marinade. In a few secret steps. Are you ready? Shhhhhh...
2. NO!-verhead Lighting - One of the biggest party killers is the offense of overhead lighting - unless! - you have a dimmer switch or in some cases, coloured bulbs. Stark lights that come from the ceiling are not sexy, nor inviting. Let me ask you this: would you invite your friends over for an autopsy? Because if you employ overhead lighting, this is exactly what your party will feel like. Make the light soft and almost hidden. A secret trick I like to use is to stare at a bowl of artichoke dip next to a bowl of spinach dip and then I dim the lights until I can barely tell which dip is which. This will also work with two similar crackers, hummus and bean dip, or pictures of Burt Reynolds and Olympic Swimmer Mark Spitz.
3. Put It On a Ritz! - When it comes to mouth entertainment crackers, I've seen and tasted it all. Water crackers, though elegant are usually too thin to survive a quick wade through a dense cream cheese based dip. Same goes for twig-like crackers which just snap, and frankly - can't hold much of anything (where are the olives supposed to go?) In regards to the all-important orrr-derrrv cracker, I take my cue from Marilyn Monroe: "But square cut / Or pear shaped / These crackers don't lose their shape / Ritz' are a Girl's! Best! Friend!" Buttery, golden amber and the perfect size, a Ritz can hold just about anything. Scroll up and look in my face right now. Pretend that my mouth is moving and that I'm telling you this advice as a friend. We are closer now, don't you think? I sure feel this way. Put it on a Ritz! Your guests will thank you for sticking with a classic.
4. 'Cheese' Wisely With 'The Towering Inferno' Method - Picking cheeses for your orrr-derrrv table can take up a whole day, unless you go forth into that market with a plan! This is when I employ The Towering Inferno Method. Cheeses are like people, or the characters and actors in The Towering Inferno. You have Steve McQueen as the no-nonsense Fire Chief O'Hallorhan (Sharp Cheddar), Paul Newman as the ethical architect Doug Roberts (Monterey Jack), William Holden as the building's owner Jim Duncan (Muenster), Richard Chamberlain as his greedy corners-cutting son-in-law and electrical engineer Roger Simmons (Roquefort), Robert Wagner as chief publicist Dan Bigelow who actually is responsible for starting the 'inferno' (Habanera Pepper Jack), and Faye Dunaway as Robert's girlfriend (Brie.) There are (of course) more cast members, but this collection should make for a fine table, and you can always add more cheeses if you wish - but this is what I start with and I've never had any complaints. When you can breeze right up to the cheese counter and pick six cheeses with confidence, it can really make your day - and your party!
5. Fill It With Steely Dan - If you've ever been to my abode, I don't have to tell you that I don't ever need Hey, Nineteen reasons to have Steely Dan constantly on my hi-fi. Formed by the amazing combination of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, you just can't get more perfection in your entertaining music than Steely Dan. Their languid, mellow keyboards and changing chords were made to be played in a dimly lit living room where the scent of Charlie perfume sways in the air, and another cork of Blue Nun is popped. The magic of Steely Dan is this: it can be foreground or background music. It works both ways. You can notice it or not notice it. It's a mystery! Put Steely Dan on at your next gathering, and you'll be Reeling In The PEERS. let me put it this way; if indulging in the fine Columbian, having sex with underage girls and drinking scotch whiskey all night long and dying behind the wheel is wrong, then I don't want to be correct.
Remember, I'm not here to tell you what to do. I'm just here to share... The Secrets Every Fancy Lady Should Know.