Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dinner Disaster

Last week I had a few friends over for dinner. It was a disaster. Here is what happened. I wasn’t really in the mood for preparing a big dinner. I was more in the mood to do yard work because it was such a beautiful day outside. So, I got sloppy. I decided to make Fettuccine Alfredo. My first mistake was I didn’t cook the fettuccine long enough. They were like rubber bands. I should have set the timer so I would know when the pasta was done. I don’t think I have ever set a timer on cooking pasta. I usually check by eye. This time it didn’t work.

My second mistake was that I didn’t have heavy whipping cream. I thought I could get by with using half and half. Well folks, half and half had the effect of making milk soup. Yes folks, I made rubber bands with milk soup. But, I didn’t think my company would notice. Bill, my partner, is like Mikey…..he can eat anything. Our two guests are not known as gourmands.

First up was the salad. That went well enough. Next up was the Fettuccine Alfredo. The first sign of trouble was that everyone had trouble getting the little rubbery things out of the bowl. Those noodles wanted to go everywhere but the plate for which they were intended. Bill wanted a knife to cut the noodles so he could spoon them out of the bowl. I told him that wasn’t proper protocol for serving Fettuccine Alfredo.

Finally, with noodles on the plates, the dinner social conversation renewed. After only a few minutes, Bill stopped eating and looked directly at me and said “This is awful!" Uh oh. The gig was up. I didn’t think anyone would notice. Someone did. I had fooled myself but there was no fooling Bill. My dinner guests were too polite to voice any displeasure but they were not forthcoming with the compliments that I am used to receiving for one of my diner repasts. The comments I did receive were “Don’t worry about it.” “It’s alright.” Uh huh. Tranlated it meant "WTF?" Disaster.

I gathered up the dinner plates of rubbery fettuccine, bacon bits swimming in the milk soup. I took the plates over to the garbage disposal where I slid the slimy mess into oblivion and turned the disposal on. Those noodles even fought the disposal. "Grind, grind. Chug, chug."

Time for dessert! Tonight the sweet de jour was Tropical Delight Hawaiian wedding cake. I have made this dessert many times in the past and it is almost fail safe. This time was no exception. I happily received expected praise from my dining companions. But the damage was done. The main course was an unmitigated disaster.

This is only the second time in my long cooking career that I bombed. The first time was years ago when we lived in Philadelphia. I decided to make sweet potato pie from scratch without a recipe. After all, how hard could it be? It was awful. I still remember the shocked look on Bill’s face all those years ago when he asked me “What did you do to this pie?” I have always been known for my expertise in making desserts but I missed Big Time on the sweet potato pie. My mistake was that I didn’t add any sugar. I figured “sweet potato”, there’s the “sweet”; it doesn’t need sugar. Well girls and boys, sweet potato pie needs a LOT OF SUGAR. This "pie" was about the blandest piece of crap I ever ate. There was no getting away from it. Tasteless. Mush in pie crust.

Tonight I redeem myself. One of the two guests returns for dinner tonight. I’m making my signature Swiss Steak casserole. I’ve been making this entrée for years. It is my own recipe and it never misses. It’s a mess to make but oh so delicious with the tender portions of round steak smothered by tomatoes, green pepper, and onions and a bit of salt and just a dash of pepper. I serve it with another one of my tried and true recipes, Squashed Potatoes. Bill usually just heaps his plate with Squashed Potatoes and puts a dab of Swiss Steak on top like ketchup.

Unfortunately for one my guests last week that was his first introduction to my cooking skills. You know what they say about “You only get one chance to make a first impression?” I’ll have a long way to go until I redeem my cooking skills in his eyes. At least I have nowhere to go but up. Maybe I should of told him I was serving him calamari with milk soup.


G said...

Ron, what a mess. Your dinner gathering was on the verge of becoming "Boys in the band". I play it safe with the alfredo sauce. I buy Classico brand it's not too bad. They also make one called sun dried tomato alfredo. It has a nice kick to it. Love your flower photos. Mike, s.c. ca

nitewrit said...


It's the bumps in the road that grab our attention. Your friend will come to realize your cooking skills, but you will always remember your rubber bands in milk soup with fondness years from now and have a good laugh.


Ron said...


Bill and I have breakfast every Saturday morning at Zorba's, a local gay friendly restaurant in Rehoboth Beach. Bill likes to go early. We like the booth by the window. This past Saturday I liked how the early morning light washed over our table with the ketchup and artificial flowers. That was the picture on this particular blog posting. BTW, I like your new picture. You are a handsome man.

Ron said...


You're right about last week's Disaster Dinner being a memorable one. We will never forget it. Last night's dinner was much better. Unfortunately, we will probably forget that dinner years from now but the "Rubber Band Dinner in Milk Soup" we will never forget.