On the agenda: Chas and Dave; Carrie; salted caramel; Asterix and the Picts; Chinese food
Middle-class problems: Hosting a dinner party
By Daisy Stenham
A Dinner party is one of those strange social rituals at which it is imperative to appear as unfussed as possible in a desperate attempt to disguise an atmosphere of low-level mania.
It all starts with the "casual" nature of the invitation: "No big deal, just throwing some things together, turn up whenever!" Translation: "I have been cooking for three hours, I have been to four shops miles apart to source rare ingredients. I am barricaded in by print-outs of recipes. My YouTube tutorial on making hot-smoked trout with fennel and ricotta won't load. And I will be severely pissed off if you are late."
Yet the show soldiers on and guests arrive with dodgy plonk that must be discreetly placed to the side while you decant that very drinkable bottle you'd been meaning to keep to yourself.
As the parade of food begins, inevitable awkwardness arises. "Oh, you don't eat fish, don't worry," comes tersely from your mouth as you edge out of the door to whip up some SOS pasta in a cold-blooded rage.
The careful seating plan, meanwhile, will have been "re-arranged" by one guest who simply had to catch up with an old flame, meaning two people with absolutely nothing to say to one another are left trapped between walls of over-complicated food.
And finally, with the plates cleared, there comes the final predicament: how to shoo everyone out without seeming rude. In-roads are unsubtly made – "God look at the time!" – but not followed through until there's only one thing for it: now where did you put that plonk?
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world