Thursday, November 25, 2010

Two Heads Are Better

Happy Thanksgiving!
Last weekend I hosted a little dinner party for my upper-level students. You can imagine that Dickens the cat was in heaven, with ten maidens cooing over his winter coat and climbing skills.
I could have made the evening a potluck affair, but I wanted the challenge of cooking for a dozen. Could I do it? Answer: yes!
The white bust joins Kitchen Hermaphrodite
as guardians of my computer. I wonder what
they talk about when I'm gone!
I kept singing Ingrid Michaelson’s lines I’m a big girl now/ See my big girl shoes, which have become my newest mantra. (In case you’re curious, dear reader, my particular Big Girl shoes of the day were my hot pink easter crocs: everything you want in footwear while you’re cooking and making multiple runs to the trash, recycling and ill-fated compost bins outside.)
For this party, I worked out my Thanksgiving impulses a few days early. The meal wasn’t Thanksgiving in the sense of a big golden poultry orb full of breadcrumbs and butter. But I enjoyed spending my few hours of daylight peeling, defrosting, frying, and baking. Plus I got to use my new-to-me tablecloth (red with a white and silver retro snowflake pattern. I can probably use it past Christmas, into January).
The night before the party, I made a last-minute stop to the Northwest Christian Schools thrift store to buy more plates and bowls. A bonus: I found a bust of a dreamy-eyed boy in a ruffled shirt. This bust joins the color bust already guarding my office computer. I like the idea of two heads for winter. Isn’t January named for two-headed Janus, who looks toward past and the future? 
Hey, who's that Thrippie
shrugged into her neck gator?
I hereby proclaim the message of two.  I might get a new cat, for a total of two. I might not always live by myself. There could be two.
The dishes I bought at Northwest Christian thrift (including a Rapunzel Barbie heart-shaped bowl!) will fill out my Party Box. Brunch for 10? No problem, now that I have a Party Box.
When I taught in Moldova a few years ago, I marveled that all of the women I knew had been minted from the same Hospitality Machine. Everyone had multiple sets of dishes, an armory of glassware and cutlery. Most houses and even apartments had a “casa mare,” a big room full of hulking cabinets and rugs that was used for entertaining.
When I attended my first wedding party in Moldova, I realized that that’s where the dishes come from. People brought the bride stacks of gilt-rimmed plates wrapped in cellophane. Pillows, blankets, table linens were all part of the dowry (the bed linens needed, of course, in case the elements are too strong, or one’s dinner guests too immobilized to face the night).
Looks like I’m making my own dowry. I’m a big girl now….
So long as the thrift stores stay open, I think I’ve got this one.

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