By Terry Sweeney
The other day while preparing hors d’oeuvres for some charming fellow Happy Winos who were running a little late for happy hour (hey in my book, five minutes after five o’clock is late!), I received a call from my guests, a couple who live in Port Royal, informing me that because of loud thunder and lightening, threatening a storm; they couldn’t leave their petrified golden retriever by herself.
As a matter of fact, they confessed, they had already opened the very bottle of wine they were going to bring and had absentmindedly drunk it all while watching the lightening. Alas, they were now too buzzed to get in their car and come over.
I glanced down at the beautiful silver platter I had just prepared: fresh sliced figs from the farmers market, two gorgeous hunks of cheese — a luscious orange double gloucester, and a beautiful Danish blue — surrounded by giant fresh blackberries and a mound of crisp white English water crackers. “Oh no!” I insisted. “If you can’t come to the party, then the party shall come to you.”
“But we don’t have anything to give people for dinner,” they moaned.
“Darlings,” I replied, “Wine, cheese, fruit, and crackers are dinner!”
I hurriedly called all my other guests about this sudden change of plans; we formed a caravan, and off to Port Royal we all gallivanted. The party was a huge smash, or maybe we all got hugely smashed; I’m not sure which. But at some point, furniture was moved and wild dancing ensued until the wee hours. All this on a school night! The next day we all retrieved our cars (we had wisely taken taxis home) and everyone agreed that our new favorite kind of dinner party is one with no dinner at all. Who knew?!
The best part of the “no-dinner dinner party” was that our hosts did not have to disappear into the kitchen as though they were staff for long stretches of time; missing all kinds of laughter, interesting stories, and fun. (Not to mention the resentful cleanup afterwards they’d have had to endure when everyone was gone.) No more muttering “Never again” and “How much did that cost us?!” Especially during these challenging economic times.
Here are some other ways to make your next “no-dinner dinner party” more fun for yourself:
1) Always have at least one drink before your guests arrive. The best thing about the “no-dinner dinner party” is you can start without ‘em.
2) When guests arrive, refer to your small bowl of peanuts or potato chips as “tapas” and loudly exclaim after popping one, “Boy these are filling!”
3) Have background music that you’ve especially chosen for the “no-dinner party” — and that includes danceable music. You will be surprised how many people love to dance after a bunch of drinks at the “no-dinner dinner party.” (After all, they’re so grateful not to be stuck sitting at a table for hours, slowly getting sober and fatter.)
4) No kids in any way shape or form. The “no-dinner dinner party” often gets wild! Remember, kids’ phones have cameras now.
5) A nice touch is to have an extra pack of cigarettes like Marlboro Lights on hand so that guests who smoke only when they drink are not forced to bum cigarettes off people they hardly know. After all, everyone knows a cigarette after “no dinner” just hits the spot.
6) Last but not least, have a local cab company on speed dial; after all, you’ve had no dinner! A cab ride home is always better than a police car ride to the pokey. You won’t get a nightcap there.