Monday, January 23, 2012

Who Needs Martha?

I'm trying out a new thing. If there's something I want to do, and I'm feeling a little unsure, I just sign myself up to do it and I work out the details later. That's how I ended up hosting Soup Cinema #2. It's a fun and pretty self-explanatory project my friends TJ and Julie put together. Someone hosts and makes soup, someone brings a movie. As the newly minted owner of a 32” merry-Christmas-to-myself flat panel and with no actual DVD or Blu-ray player, I volunteered to host and figured I’d get it all worked out in time.

Also, I should mention, I have a Type A tendency to want everything to go perfectly when I host a party. How Type A am I? When I was seven I typed out a set of rules for my playroom on my little typewriter and posted them on the door. I hate to say that I haven’t made a lot of progress since then, especially when it comes to hostessing. I want to be Martha. Everything should be in its place, everything should look effortless. For every stray hors d’oeuvre toothpick there is a ready and waiting trash can; for every thirsty guest there is a clean piece of stemware and a wine chilled to the appropriate temperature.

Yeah right. What actually happens is I whip myself into a frenzy before party time. There’s never enough time, never enough clean knives. I exhaust my supply of cutting boards making just one pot of soup. There is shouting - at cookware, myself, a pet, a neighbor’s pet, anything close by. This time around, Jeff came early to lend a hand and he bore the brunt of my pre-party insanity. He bravely leapt into action, arranging carrots and celery, hauling my recycling to the trash room. TJ arrived soon after and supplied chairs, pillows and blankets, and of course, the movie.

Soup-wise, I made a ridiculously simple sweet potato chili. It's straightforward until you get to the very end and add a little orange peel. A little sweet-spicy, one-two combo. I like to serve it with sour cream to prevent it from seeming too healthy.

If you can, I encourage you to have a neighbor like my neighbor Chris. He arrived with homemade cookies and then made multiple trips back upstairs to get a power strip, extra spoons, crackers and more chairs. Julie brought a loaf of bread across state lines for the occasion. TJ came through in a big way with the movie, introducing it first with a multimedia presentation and finally presenting Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil as our feature.

As movie and soup nights go, I think this one was first-rate. You should watch Tucker and Dale if you like parody comedies and the whole Evil Dead thing. My still-newish apartment was filled with friendly faces. People were fed, laughs were had, and then we all went to the bar afterwards. I didn’t pull off a Martha-esque feat here, this was a collaboration. And isn't that more fun?