A social gathering or party should be a fun and enjoyable time, but for me it has always turned out to be a nightmare. I am the first to admit I am not the best cook in the world, but a few of my past events have turned out even worse than even I could have imagined.
There was a time when the chicken failed to cook at all, after hours and hours in the oven. I told my guests that the oven may have been broken or at least not functioning well. This was a little white lie, I forgot to turn the oven on.
And then there was another time when the zucchini pancakes stuck to everything except each other, and at the same party, the pork shoulder was extremely fatty and chewy and all in all pretty horrible. It was the first time we had entertained in our new apartment and both of us neared complete melt-down as we got in each other’s way trying to save the dinner.
There was then the time we were going to braise a pork shoulder for Thanksgiving, instead of the traditional turkey, but realized when it was time to start cooking that our pork was off, fortunately that time we were only cooking for 4, and we all simply went out for dinner and had Thanksgiving the next day.
One of my bad experiences was one that I simply do not blame myself for. One hot summer, sunday afternoon, I was at the home in hubby’s old worn out boxers and a vest when the phone rang. I answered it, and the caller was my husband’s best friend’s wife, who said that she was very sorry that they were running late, but they would be there in about 40 minutes.
I told her not to worry about it and that we were looking forward to seeing them. Once I got off the phone, I gave my husband a quick telling off, which included a few choice words, to which he responded that he had forgotten to mention that he had invited them for dinner.
Anyway, I scrambled around very quickly to pull together an appetizer platter, a salad, thaw some meat, and swap the tattered boxers for a sundress before they arrived.
The four of us had a lovely dinner, until it came time to serve dessert, and I had to admit I had nothing to offer. There was a moment of awkward silence before I decided to simply tell them what had happened.
Dinner didn’t turn out to be a disaster though, and since then his best friend’s wife always calls to double check that I am actually aware of any plans that the four of us might have. And I got brownie points for being such a good sport about the surprise dinner party.
My mother in law is the typical stay at home wife. She is an amazing cook, and she often takes the opportunity to tell me just how bad my cooking is, and how badly my husband is treated with my badly cooked meals.
We had invited them over for dinner, and this time I was determined to prove her wrong. My mother in law cooks an amazing stew, so I thought I would try and get one over on her.
I read that the best way of cooking a stew was in a slow cooker. This is because the meat is first browned, then slowly cooked for hours, resulting in perfectly tender, juicy meat. I researched into the different makes and models of slow cooker available. I found some free buyers advice on the internet, it gave me all of the information I needed.
I bought myself a mid-range model and set to work. The stew went down so well. My father in law even said that it was better than his wife’s. As you can imagine that certainly didn’t go down too well with her, but I had a new sense of achievement.
Since my successful gathering with the in laws, I have cooked the same stew a few times for friends and family, and it has been greatly received every time. Who would have imagined it, I was a successful chef all because of a slow cooker!