Back to the blog party – still not sure of final numbers as it seems less likely that Al & co can come and Eddie Two-Sox and his son Sam don’t know yet. Otherwise, we’ve got …
Mig and Barney
PixieMum and Ian
Blue Witch and Mr BW
Mike and Ann
Sir Bruin and Liz
Rog and Mrs Rine
Roses and Lawrence
Weeza, Phil, Zerlina and Augustus
Russell & Zoë …
which will make 23 at least. I’ll cater for 30, which means I’ll probably have enough food for at least 40. Ro is deeply distressed to be missing the occasion, partly because he enjoys meeting you so much and also because he always goes away with enough leftover food to feed him and Dora for days. And since I’m planning to cook a whole ham, amongst other things of course, there will be plenty of leftovers.
Taking Blue Witch’s advice, I’ve decided on cold food after all. So if the weather suddenly turns freezing again (I arrived home to find a fire burning in the grate – “I was chilly, so why not?”) I might spend Saturday morning making soup to warm us up. On the other hand, it may be marvellous weather. I’ve lost my nerve and am not checking the long-range forecast yet. Anyway, Dilly is kindly coming to lend a hand with the last-minute things on Saturday morning while Squiffany is at gymnastics, so everything will be supremely organised and I’ll have nothing to do once you’re here. In theory.
My mother was a great party giver and often decorated the house too – she had a great sense of occasion and nothing was too much trouble. I can’t hope to match that, mainly because I have a much greater sense of self-preservation than she ever did. She’d work until she dropped rather than compromise. When I get tired, I consider the jobs still on the list and see what won’t be missed if it isn’t done. In fact, I put a few down that I know in advance can be left out.
It always amazes me, how much food was put on the table in those days. I’m afraid I’ve written about this before, so if you’ve known me for at least six years or if you’ve had the dedication to read this blog from the start (Janerowena, I salute you again) then you’ll know I’m repeating myself, but breakfast alone was enough to make a main meal nowadays. I serve kedgeree for supper, but in those days it was a breakfast dish, and the same goes for kippers, which were always served in pairs. Sausages were sometimes served later in the day, but were generally breakfast food, and of course eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread (fried bread! Who eats fried bread now? Haven’t seen it for years, except as croûtons), fried potatoes and so on were all standards in various combinations. My mother had tall egg cups which were double-ended, the bottom end much larger than the top, so you could put your second egg to keep warm in the base. Or you could have boiled duck egg, I suppose, to fit, but we never did. It was believed, probably with good reason, that duck egg should always be thoroughly cooked or there would be a risk of food poisoning, because they were laid near water that might not be clean. And in the week between Christmas and the New Year, we had cold ham carved off the bone or fried ham and eggs.
A lot of people ate much more than we did, mind you. We never started with cereal, though there was toast on the table. I can’t remember whether my parents drank tea or coffee for breakfast, funnily enough – maybe it was whichever they felt like, I seem to have no strong feelings either way. Tea was always drunk black in any case and was Earl Grey.