Category Archives: Party! Party!
An oldie, but a goodie. Just to put you in the proper frame of mind for the upcoming season of joy.
Yesterday, while toughing out 20 minutes of enforced motionlessness as I iced my elbow, I ran across an old favorite from movieland, and it got me to thinking. Now, how I developed golfer’s elbow remains a mystery as I don’t play. You may be thinking it could be due to the repetitive strain of lifting glasses of wine, bottles of beer or cases of what have you; however, it has afflicted my left elbow, which is not my
drinking lifiting elbow, but that’s a story for another day.
As I said, I was sitting with the elbow swaddled in an ice pack with some time to kill, so I snapped on the tube and was thrilled to stumble upon one of my all time favorite movies featuring one of my all time favorite actors. And since I’m slinging the term around, it was My Favorite Year with none other than…
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Once again I have sought a way to break through my now chronic writer’s block, and once again Martha has delivered, this time not a mimsy little hand drill, but a great big motherfucker of a sledgehammer to blast through the creative dam. In the form of this:
As you might have guessed, Martha thinks crafting vastly improves the al fresco dining experience. I, however, beg to differ. So let’s just take this apart, shall we?
In the above image of picnic bliss — as well as all the others in the feature article — we see lovely refreshments in pristine natural settings where comfy pillows, tasteful linens, frosty beverages and delicious treats await the arrival of well-heeled, scrupulously upholstered guests for a glass of perfectly chilled rosé accompanied by lighthearted, yet penetrating discussions of the great books, the events of the day, and Martha’s supreme wonderfulness. Heaven on a beach.
Here’s what we don’t see:
- The army of cooks, sommeliers and stylists who provisioned the picnic over the course of three long, hellish working days
- The legions of domestic staff who humped all the aforementioned picnic accoutrements and food across approximately six miles of burning sand to a properly secluded spot on the beach
- The team of photographers, gophers and fluffers (for the pillows, people) required to get the one perfect snapshot of the perfect beach party setting
- The raging inferno of citronella candles necessary in any outdoor situation that entails humans and food
- Whiny kids who don’t want cucumber sandwiches for lunch, and even if they did, wouldn’t eat them because they’d be full of sand
- Sunburned adults being driven to madness by mosquito bites, the horror of appearing in a social situation in swimwear, and the insufferable domestic drill sergeant at the center of their party universe
- The exhausted host and hostess throwing this shindig who have already had about six knock-down drag-out fights in the run-up to it and are well on their way to getting absolutely blind drunk, disappearing behind a dune with someone other than their spouse and eventually filing for divorce.
I hate picnics.
Quite simply, there is not enough vodka in the world to make a picnic — or any outdoor dining event — worth your while, especially if you have to hand paint the picnic basket, waterproof the blanket, make special cocktail glass flowers and create a collapsible dog bowl to do it. This kind of event requires staff, people. And pharmaceuticals, which can be carefully blended for each party guest’s particular emotional needs, then distributed in colorful origami baskets that have been personalized with decorative name tags! Now that’s crafting with a purpose.
According to the forecasters, today in New York, the mercury will climb to 90 degrees (Farenheit, not Celsius for my Euro friends — fear not). The lilacs are blooming, the grill is up and running and the rum is flowing like water through the proverbial desert of my life. In short, folks, I’m in the mood for a party.
Some of you may recall an earlier foray into the party mix arena that we took at Christmas. I was somewhat surprised that my readers had any interest at all in the subject of what to fill the speakers with, though a good party mix is crucial to a festive evening, and essential if you’re hoping to stretch the evening well into the next day. In my opinion, it’s not a party until someone dons the lampshade, strips naked or frugs on the dining table. If one intrepid guest takes on all three at once, well, he’s probably a close relative of mine, and I’d hope others would join in the spirit of the moment and eventually call me to the ER. I realize not everyone keeps a stomach pump on hand, though for the life of me I don’t know why. Ours is right next to its pal the fire extinguisher, and I’d be lying if I said we frequently used one without the other, especially around the holidays. So there you go.
As my regular readers may recall, I recently spent a little vacation time in the Bahamas, where I was treated to the first class bartending services of Sammy at the Cocodimama Hotel, for better or, on at least one evening, for worse.
Bad tourist behavior notwithstanding, the man gets up to some serious mixology and Mr. Slattern and I were delighted to make regular use of his sevices. We tried all manner of rum drinks, which used all manner of flavored rums. My personal favorite was the Bahama Mama. Now, Sammy makes a Bahama Mama without the aid of passionfruit juice and confines himself to white rum and coconut rum, and if you want to follow the original recipe just skip the dark rum and passionfruit juice and double up on the orange juice in the tarted up version of the recipe below.