I just cooked for guests last night and, once again, overdid it. I seem to have a mania that consists of convincing myself that I have planned correctly, have plenty of time, and chosen a menu that won't drive me nuts. This RARELY works out.
Last night was a not-exactly typical type of example, but these dinner guests are invited quite often - one meat and nothing much else eater and one non-meat eater (the rest are all omnivores). I actually posted about it and then decided to ignore all the advice and once again delude myself into a corner.
It ended up working out pretty much okay, but it did seriously wear me down.
I made 3 types of fritters - onion and yam pakoras, eggplant fritters and potato fritters (the basic recipes all came from Bittman - either How to Cook Ev or Best Recipes in the World). They were all very good, but of course needed to be cooked at the last possible minute. I also made a sort of raita/chutney of yoghurt, mint, garlic, green onions and jalapenos.
Then, convincing myself that the fritters were not enough... I made three salads - one was various types of cukes and sweet peppers marinated in vinegar and salt; the 2nd was lots of tomatoes chopped up with onions and marinated in oil and vin. The third was just a plain green salad with arugula.
I also made a large vat of sort of tajinesque North African chicken. I thought the fritters could be the starch for the chicken dish and so did not serve bread or rice or couscous. A mistake. The sauce was the best part and the fritters got soggy on the same plate.
A smart, non-raging maniac would have served ice cream or sorbet and fruit salad for dessert. But, as Steve Martin so eloquently put it years ago ... Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. I decided to make a complicated plum tart with a home made cake-like crust and a streusl topping.
So there you have it. How do I stop myself from do this over and over again? Will I ever learn my lesson? Doesn't look promising.
I'm sure there are others like me out there or else there wouldn't be so many articles about how not to drive yourself nuts when entertaining.