Nothing Like a Good Meal
The eye of round roast had cooked in the slow cooker with pearl onions, baby carrots,button mushrooms and a cup of red wine. I arrived home from work on Saturday night and as quickly as I could, I peeled a five pound sack of potatoes and put them on to boil, prepped salad with lettuce and cucumber from my garden, and slid a casserole dish of veggies in cheese sauce into the oven. After setting the table with the fine china and turning off the boiling potatoes, I had freshened up and dressed and lit the candles on the table just in time, as the first dinner guests had arrived.
Dom and Vicky were new in the neighborhood and with them was a pretty young woman with long blonde hair. They had phoned last night saying the had an unexpected guest so I invited them to bring their friend also.
“Hello, please come in and make yourselves comfortable. Ron will be here soon.”
“Hello Penny” said Dom with a big smile, and “this is Andrea our old friend from Galloway,that I told you about. Mmm…something sure smells great. And it’s making me hungry”
Smiling I shook Andrea’s hand, then Vicky gave me a little hug. After they were seated, I offered them drinks and a plate of cheese and crudités to nibble on while waiting for the meal we would soon share. That’s when my husband Ron came in, late from his volunteer job, but at least he had remembered to get a cake from the bakery. My daughter Caroline and her husband Kelvin came right on his heels, with two of their friends. Well, the more the merrier, right? The tall young man who wore a grey t-shirt, baggie pants and a hundred watt smile was called D’Andre. He was Kelvin’s friend since they had been in college.
The very pregnant young woman in a black and white print wrapped dress, was Caroline’s coworker, Sarah. She was expecting a little boy in a couple of weeks , I later learned.
“Caroline, would you introduce everyone and pour them drinks, while I get dinner on the table? Thanks Dear.”
So I quickly made some gravy but it wasn’t as brown as I’d like and a bit too thick too. I fixed that by adding a six ounces of left over coffee that Ron had made that morning and congratulated myself for solving that problem so cleverly.
I asked them all to be seated at the dinning room table. Then I asked Kelvin if he would be kind enough to carve the roast. He obliged. I knew he could make eight equal servings out of it.
“Nothing like a good meal.” declared Ron beaming as he placed his napkin on his lap. He was hoping they might be impressed with an excellent meal and he could hardly wait to dig into it himself. He passed around he table an open bottle of a very good Cabernet.
The mashed potatoes were creamy and plenty and the dinner rolls were nicely browned and warm, everything was going well… until it wasn’t.
Removing the hot casserole from the oven I placed it on a wooden trivet to carry it to the table,so as to not burn myself. But then I tripped as I entered the dinning room. Luckily, I did not fall. But the hot dish slid right off and hit the floor with a bang, some sloshing over the side. Luckily , it landed right side up! But, I immediately reached to pick it up and seared most of my fingers. There were looks of shock, and stifled laughter. After all, I looked pretty silly and would have laughed myself if not for the terrible pain. Taking my seat after soaking my fingers in ice water for ten minutes, I sat down at the table and filled my plate.
“What is this unusual flavoring in the gravy? Asked Kelvin looking puzzled.
“ I don’t know …” as I sample some. Oh no! Vanilla! That coffee was vanilla flavored!
Well, at least the beef was good, as far as it went. Sarah picked up a bit of salad on her fork, a bit of leafy green lettuce with a matching caterpillar.sitting prominently on top. With her mouth open, her eyes locked on it, while D’Andre took fork and all in his napkin and chuckled as he left the table to dispose of this unwelcome guest. I gulped some water. Sarah looked a little green herself.
We filled ourselves with rolls and casserole and potatoes sans gravy, and wine, plenty of wine. We are on our third bottle now. We got to know each other much better. We all talked about the previous mishaps and laughed and laughed.
Now everyone was in the living room again as I cleared the table, when sweet Andrea insisted on helping. As she reached a couple of plates from the other side of the table and held them, I saw that she seemed to have a halo like glow around her. Oh my gosh! Her sweater and hair were burning! I sprang at her batting her up and down with the dish towel until the fire was out. Damage was minimal. With the smell of burnt hair in the air, I snuffed out the candles that had ignited her flammable hairspray . And as she thank me profusely for saving her, I offered to pay for a new sweater and a visit to a salon of her choice. I poured us each another glass of wine and filled them up.
I was fairly sure I had provided most of the “entertainment “that evening. When I carried the eagerly awaited, beautifully decorated, , heavily frosted cake , oh so very carefully , I set it down gently and picked up my cake knife. Unfortunately I could not seem to cut it, it seemed hard. Perhaps this was because my blistered fingers were still quite sore. I asked Caroline if she would cut it.
“What’s this? What kind of cake is this?” laughed Caroline as she sawed with the knife then held up a slice of frosted styrofoam cake.
Everyone roared with laughter. Caroline rolled her eyes and put down the frosted foam. Ron’s face grew as red as tomato while my own was more near the hue of Ketchup.
Someone at the bakery had accidentally sold us the display cake! I went into the kitchen to get them ice cream from the freezer, determined they would get dessert. The handle of my ice cream scoop cracked right off! Undeterred I cut it into slabs with a knife . And there you have it: slice cream!
After dessert, Dom, Vicky and Andrea thanked us for dinner and said goodbye. Kelvin, Caroline and their friends were about to do the same, but when Sarah stood her water broke, she went into labor and had to be driven to the hospital immediately.
I loaded the dish washer, put zinc ointment on my fingers wrapping them in bandages, then finished off the rest of the wine.
And so ended our evening which was nothing like a good meal.