Lend Me Your Ears

Kentucky Derby

Derby Day Is About Horses – And Kentucky Bourbon

     Of course, in the state of Kentucky it’s going to be all about the horses. Once a year this passion manifests itself in a marvelous event known as The Kentucky Derby. Many people travel great distances to experience the energy and the excitement surrounding what has become known as “The Run For The Roses.”      But Derby day is so much more than just a horserace. As the title says, it’s also about the bourbon. The locals are very fond of their native drink. They begin drinking early in…

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Cocktail Party Banter

COCKTAIL TALK OR TIME TO SPRUCE UP YOUR WITTY REPARTEE      Whenever I hear witty repartee, I immediately think this could be a cartoon character. It’s definition from the dictionary is “a succession or interchange of clever retorts, amusing and usually light sparring with words.” Another definition said “it’s snappy dialogue” which also sounds like a cartoon character.      Having a gift for witty repartee is extremely useful when it comes to small talk. I’d like to issue a quote from a favorite handbook of mine, Social Graces by Town…

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coq au vin cuisine

Your Go-to Classic Cuisine

     Before you head to the patio for a summer of BBQ, stay in the kitchen long enough to prepare one more classic dish. Treat family, friends and yourself to this French delight.      To be considered a great dinner party host, you need to have a dish representing a classic cuisine when you want to impress. It’s the one you’ve served many times and can prepare with a relatively high chance of success.      Over the years, it’s been changed so that it agrees with your particular tastes, and it’s the dish that has made…

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Music For A Dinner Party

Music evokes emotion, and I think the mood for a dinner party should be mellow. It should be conducive to setting a lower energy level. The right background music will encourage your guests to slow down and to relax so they can enjoy their dinner. It should also be nondescript – the less recognizable the better. Your selections should be interesting, yet unobtrusive. Lyrics can be distracting, so I believe the best music for your dinner party is instrumental. Also, be sure to turn the volume down low enough so it doesn’t…

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Paella – A Convivial Dish

Ancient Roots      Paella is a rice dish that has ancient roots. Its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia.  Paella is also the name of the specialized shallow pan used for this dish.      There’s not much of a consensus regarding how this delicious dish, perhaps Spain’s most famous, should be prepared. Also, what should, or shouldn’t go into it is an issue. The original recipes went from being relatively simple to including a wide variety…

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Dinner

So, What’s For Dinner?

Quote: “Dinner is not what you do in the evening before something else. Dinner is the evening.” – Art Buchwald      Perhaps what’s hardest about preparing for a dinner party is coming up with an idea of what to serve. When Dorothy and I are selecting dishes, we consult a menu we’ve compiled of our favorites. It’s in an actual menu format, and we keep it as an opening page in the front of our personal cooking notebook. We can scan the entries, and usually something will seem appropriate for…

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Seating Strategies For Your Dinner Party Guests

Quote: I don’t care where I sit, as long as I get fed. – Calvin Trillin Who To Invite “Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they’ve lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat – and drink! – with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.” ― M.F.K. Fisher   Deciding on a seating arrangement is one of the more important chores in preparing for your dinner party….

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mac

A Mac and Cheese I’m Not Ashamed To Serve

     Ah, Mac and Cheese (see above). The comfort food of all comfort foods. To me the sight and smell of this immediately causes my mouth to water – definitely one of my guilty pleasures. First of All, I Have To Get This Off My Chest      I don’t consider the packaged varieties of mac and cheese to truly be mac and cheese at all. Sure, the final product has macaroni, milk, and butter. It’s 75% there, but it’s that mystery package of who knows what that I take issue with….

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A Cheese Course? Of Course

“A MEAL WITHOUT CHEESE IS A ONE-EYED BEAUTY”      This quote is attributed to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. He was an eighteenth-century lawyer and politician as well as a noted epicure who is credited with many other quotes regarding food. A Wonderful Addition      I think a cheese course is a wonderful addition to any meal. It is usually inserted between the main meal and dessert. When we are hosting a dinner party, we have found that dessert is often too heavy an addition after a huge meal, and replacing dessert…

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Marbella

Your First Dinner Party? Start Simple.

Keep It Really Simple      If you’re interested in hosting a dinner party, don’t start with a sit-down dinner for eight.      Host a dinner with yourself and one other person. Pick an elegant but simple recipe and perfect it. A simple but exquisite dish is Chicken Marbella.  It may take several iterations to get it right, but your patience will be rewarded. It’s Showtime      Next try a dinner party for four. Serve the dish you have practiced preparing, and figure out how to make it special. Pick…

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