Friday 1 January 2016

#135 New Year’s Eve

“Hello. Yes, I’d like to buy some cheese”. I was feeling a lot like Michael McIntyre yesterday afternoon, ie. a bit of a twat. “Yes I’m going to a dinner party tonight and I need to bring the cheese course for ten people - I’ve never done this before. How much cheese do you think I need?”

“Oh, erm... I don’t know...” said the lady at the cheese counter. “I suppose it depends what you’re eating first”. I squinted at her. I mean, for all I knew, it might very well depend on what we were eating but her hesitancy seemed to scream bullshit so load that I had trouble believing it. I tried another question. “Would you say four or five cheeses is about right?” She nodded, helpfully. We were getting somewhere. The guy with the trolley next to me smiled and commented “ten people? That’s a lot of cheese.” I smiled back, delighted that he was taking an interest.

I’d Googled the types that I might ask for and so pretty much just reeled off the descriptions that I’d found. A soft goat’s cheese, a cheddar, a Camembert or Brie and a blue cheese. About 300g of each. It was easy enough. I’m sure there are other ways to pick cheeses than Googling it but I was a cheese board virgin and had a party to get to.

I wanted to add a bonus cheese and was eyeing up the Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie Wensleydale. “I wasn’t so keen on that one” she commented. “Is it a bit shit?” I asked “yeah I wasn’t so keen but you can try a bit. All the other Wensleydales are good though”. She started to cut it. “What about the Toffee Wensleydale then?” I asked. “I haven’t tried that one”. “The Plum Wensleydale?” “Actually I haven’t tried that one either. The cranberry one’s nice”. I tried the chocolate brownie piece and then asked for some as I quite liked it. Plus, she didn't.

Cooking and serving a full roast for ten people on New Year’s Eve is pretty ambitious, especially when you don’t have a dining table. Tom and Liz aren’t the type to shy away from a challenge though, in fact it was their idea. Some credit goes to the two or three guests who helped with the peeling and chopping while Rob and I stood in the hallway drinking beer. Eventually we were all sat on cushions in the lounge, stuffing ourselves and listening to Fake Robot.

Due to the considerable supply of all kinds of food throughout the evening, we didn't get onto the cheeses until gone 1am. As a sort of grotesque illustration of the suburban excess, there was an entire chocolate caterpillar cake that didn't get touched. I'm sure he'll get eaten tomorrow though. 

By 2am, the cheese board was competing for floor space with the Articulate! game board but it seemed to have gone down ok. I found myself wondering whether my days of being invited to parties where people stood around and drank a lot were being replaced with the sort where people sit down, eat a lot and maybe drink a lot too. It seemed quite possible. All the better for starting the new year well fed.

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