Mary's going over to Willie's to clean the house.
I’m co-hosting a party.
Saturday night is Misfit Christmas, an evening-long celebration starting with food and drink, more food and drink, that gift-stealing-and-dice game, still more food and drink, and the eventual collapse into a frankly drunken sit-down discussion around world events and observations regarding anatomy.
Cigarettes to be smoked on the porch, where the ambient air temperature is well below freezing.
Starts at 7:00 and ends when I disappear.
As with so many parties, I’m required – by neighborhood law, I believe – to make Taco Layer Dip, Jalapeno Popper Dip, and the Hidden Valley Torte.
Let’s hope I do better with the torte than I did last time.
It’s a delightful little concoction, really. Layered stratum of seasoned cream cheese, roasted red peppers, parsley, and artichoke hearts, it’s as pretty as it is tasty, the layers having been constructed in any interestingly shaped bowl and then turned upside-down on a plate and ringed with crackers just before serving.
I like to create a little decorative something-or-other for that first layer, the layer that will be on top when you flip it over and serve it, something with artfully arranged roasted red peppers.
Doesn’t that sound nice?
Mm-hmm. That’s what I thought.
And so for the last party I threw, I thought I’d make a stylized flower. I carefully arranged the red peppers on the bottom of the bowl and then threw the first layer of cream cheese on it.
If you’ve ever worked with cream cheese – and who here hasn’t, really – you know it’s not the most easily spread of substances. I pushed it around, tried to smooth it so that the next layer of peppers/artichokes/parsley would lie flat. I then layered another slathering of cream cheese, another strata of the peppers/artichokes/parsley, and ended with the cream cheese.
The creation of this dish is immediately followed by a vigorous licking of any utensil used in its creation.
The next day, one flips it over onto a plate, throws some more parsley around the edges, arranges some crackers, and voila. Fish and chips.
But that’s not how it worked out.
The next day, when I flipped the torte over on to the plate, my stylized flower was no longer a flower. It had been pushed into another design altogether.
My pretty little flower was now as near an approximation to a swastika as I’ve ever seen on a party food.
There were people at the door, people lugging beer up the steps, people shouting at each other. I didn’t have time to play with the food.
I left it there.
Oddly enough, no one seemed to notice; which either tells you something about the observational skills of my friends, their political leanings, or their abilities to swill large amounts of beer.
I’m thinking it was the beer.
I’m going to give this little dish another chance. Sure it’s tasty. Sure it’s festive in appearance. But if it thinks I’m going to get into a discussion regarding its ideological leanings, it’s going to find itself being escorted out of the building.
It’s Misfit Christmas, for cryin’ out loud.