Our View From Here

Perspectives of Five Women

Cooking for the In-Laws

on April 19, 2011

I have mentioned, or perhaps alluded to, the fact that I am slightly neurotic when it comes to certain things. One of those things is entertaining. Somewhere along the line, I seem to have gotten it in my head that the worst fate that could befall upon me would be to have a lousy party with bad food. The fear is always in the back of my mind when I have friends over, but when I’m cooking for family for a holiday, it warps into a whole new level of insanity. Easter is coming up this Sunday and I’m cooking for the in-laws.

We’ve hosted Easter in years past, but we usually relied heavily upon the Honey Baked Ham Company, and augmented dinner with a few sides. This year, everything will be homemade. Preparations began (in my head) at least 6 weeks ago. I started scouring my bartending book for the perfect pre-dinner cocktail. I began talking though a potential menu with Darren. Though Darren loves to entertain, he doesn’t seem as enthusiastic about Easter as he does with Christmas Eve. I think it might have to do with the fact that Christmas Eve is steeped in tradition, and so he does a lot of the heavy lifting for that holiday. Easter doesn’t have the same traditions in this family as Christmas so I guess it’s less interesting.

A few weeks ago, I had an Easter dinner “trial run.” Since I hadn’t made any of the dishes I was planning on serving, I thought it prudent to try them out first. By in large, it was a success, though the cranberry quinoa pilaf got the ax (might save that for Thanksgiving though!). The drink that made the cut was the Toblerone (coffee flavored liqueur, hazelnut liqueur and Irish Cream, topped with milk…..yum). Dinner will be ham, Tuscan vegetables, roasted red potatoes, asparagus, rolls…..and something else I’m forgetting.

This is my problem. I plan and plan and plan, and invariably I forget something stupid, like buying dressing for a salad or putting out serving spoons or heating up the rolls. Even when making a list I forget to put something on my list, or lose my list, or forget to read one of the items on my list. Of course, I’m the only one bothered by such things. My in-laws are perfectly lovely people who wouldn’t bat an eye at ordering a pizza if I had an absolute catastrophe. But, for as liberated and progressive I like to think myself, there’s still this seemingly innate biological need to be able to host a successful holiday meal; to be a gracious, charming host and to provide my family with a wonderful meal that they’ll go tell other relatives about; to prove to myself and my family that I’m a capable adult that can make hosting a holiday seem effortless, like all the adults in my family always seemed to do. Or maybe it’s just an in-law thing – I have to prove I was a good match for their son. I dunno. It really doesn’t make any sense since I know my inlaws love and accept me. But just the same, it doesn’t seem to help me from getting a bit nervous when a holiday rolls around. I’m sure everything will go perfectly fine, or at least fine enough, and we’ll all have a nice time. But, if things do start to go poorly, I’ll just keep pouring Toblerones.

May all of our readers have a Happy Passover/Easter/Tuesday, where ever your persuasions lie.

Announcement: The week of April 25, Our View From Here will be holding its first virtual book club!  We will all be reading, and commenting on, the book Water for Elephantsby Sara Gruen.  Read along with us!

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