Entertaining Q and A
Rachael answers questions on how to keep guests and perfectionist husbands in line, and what to cook on a poor-college-student budget.
Q: "This guy just planted himself in front of the shrimp cocktail and he ate the whole thing. He didn't leave any for anyone else. I didn't know what to do. How do you get people away from the shrimp cocktail?"
A: Put your hands around the shrimp, and pull it away from the man. Well, not really like that. You don't want to be rude to your guest or make him feel self-conscious so what I would've done is pick the tray up and say something like, "Did you get enough? My friend is in the middle of a story but I'll just die if she doesn't taste my cocktail sauce." And then boom, gather the tray up and walk it away.
Q: "We love to entertain but my husband and I are exact opposites. My husband's a perfectionist and I just want to get the job done. How can I make him do it my way?"
A: While you're getting things ready, doing your casual, low-maintenance setup, conveniently forget something -- or hide it -- and send your husband to the farthest place in the world to get it. Say you absolutely need juniper berries or goose fat from France or something for your recipe and tell him to go to the other side of town and he'll be gone for a couple of hours. While he's out, you'll be able to get the stuff done your way.
Q:"When you're on a tight budget, in a dorm room, what are some of the best foods to serve?"
A: If you cook, are in school and need money, make double batches of everything and sell it to fellow students. As a "poor college student," couldn't you use the few extra bucks? Never underestimate the value of a home-cooked meal!
The best foods to make on a budget would be something like a caponata (chopped-up veggies in a pot with tomatoes) that provides the base for multiple meals. Caponata, for instance, can be turned into a hoagie: split open some bread, pile it with the caponata and melt provolone down over the top. The next night, make polenta and put a little caponata on the top - dinner number two. You can make a frittata: fry up a little bit of the caponata in a pan, add a bunch of scrambled eggs, bake it in the oven or cook it in the pan like an omelet or you could put it with some penne or macaroni of any kind, put a little grated cheese on top and you got a pasta. Start with a base recipe that doesn't cost a lot to make: chili, caponata, red-based sauce, something you can rotate into a lot of meals, and build from there.
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