Undaunted, I press on...
What would you guys do without me to brighten your day by regaling you with tales of my dining disasters? And when are you coming to dinner? I can hardly wait to have you! 

Well...this one wasn't as bad as some, but it was by no means smooth sailing. The week after the office lunch, I agreed to host a Brasilian woman who is here visiting her daughter for two months and who was anxious to try out her English. I had never met her, but had only talked with her on the phone once and invited her to join us. 

Somehow I think I'm getting "partied out." 

It was 1:30 before I decided what I was going to serve. Decided to go with frozen chicken tenders and do something Italian. First step was to make bread. I decided to make an Italian herb bread and naturally didn't read all the ingredients before I started putting it together. 

I also neglected to double check to make sure I'd remembered to wash out the bread pan after the last loaf I made. I dumped in water and olive oil and went to put in the flower, looked in the pan for the first time and discovered a paper towel and "black stuff" floating in the water and oil. I had apparently been collecting garbage in there. So I had to dump everything out, wash the pan out and start all over. I got all the ingredients in except for the last one, which was powdered milk, and I had no powdered milk. But I couldn't let it sit while I ran out to get some because I was cutting it close. As it was, the bread was scheduled to come out of the bread maker at the same time as the Brasilian woman was due to arrive. If I postponed starting the mixing, it wouldn't be ready in time for dinner. So I started it mixing and raced to the store to get powdered milk. Fortunately I made it back before the first kneading was completely finished and was able to push and poke and prod into the dough as it whirled around the maker and the finished product seemed none the worse for wear. 

God only knows why I started the chicken an hour early. But I did. I got the tenders (half the package) thawed and decided to brown them then and there. Got them browned, added wine and fresh sliced mushrooms, and then a nice garlic herb sauce. They were simmering nicely and in danger of getting too done. So I turned them off. 

Remember the couscous? 

I came in here to check e-mail and there was a note from Olivia's friend in Australia, so since things seemed to be under control, I sat down to answer it. I could smell the bread cooking and it smelled a tad strong, but I didn't check. Well, I finished the letter to Peggy, sent it off, went into the kitchen, and realized that I hadn't completely turned off the fire under the chicken and what I now had was a black mess. It was 6 p.m. Elides was due at 6:30. 

Talk about crappy dinners! I threw the other half of the package of tenders in a microwavable pot, tossed in a different jar of spaghetti sauce and threw the whole thing in the microwave and prayed for the best. The package said the chicken would cook in 15 minutes. 

By now the kitchen is literally awash in dirty dishes piled high, and things getting worse. In taking the bread out of the bread pan, with no counter space to put it, I managed to dump a whole bowl of sugar. I had bags and empty jars and you name it everywhere. Thank GOD for that wonderful blessed doggie gate! Those dogs will NEVER join a dinner party! They would have been fine and she would have been fine with them, but that meant that she could offer to help me in the kitchen and god help us if that happened! 

Dinner was decidedly unspectacular. Kind of like I'd opened a can of Chef Boyardee. But at least it was something. We were hoping she would leave so Walt and I could get to a party/meeting we were supposed to go to. But actually we got along quite well and she stayed so long that Walt (who had to go) went without me, which is just as well because I have the clean up from hell to do now. 

I may hang up my hostess togs for awhile. I think I've od'd on entertaining. At least for this month. 

But--hey! If you guys decide you want to come to dinner, I'll be ready for you.

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Bev Sykes