Sunday, February 27, 2011

oscar night (lyn)

Last year I invited a few friends over to watch the Oscars, and this year, I am complimented when Shari asks if I’ll do it again. Everyone offers to bring something, and since I am not comfortable in the kitchen, I say sure.

I clean the apartment.  Buy some flowers.  Fluff up the living room pillows.  Scrub clean the bathroom.  Put away any random things lying around.   Ask Alexander to help out by vacuuming.  His response, “Kivell (his friend) was here last night and he didn’t mention anything about our rug being dirty.  We don’t need to vacuum it.” 

I dress casually in a lightweight top from All Saints, which, when I look at the pictures later, is unflattering and adds about ten pounds.  It is comfortable though.  Probably a good top for staying home alone in, or wearing on the Cape.

Shari, an outstanding cook, arrives around 5:30.  She’s created a lasagna masterpiece and brings it here to bake.   With her help and suggestions, I make a salad of arugula, cut up sun dried tomatoes, and portobello mushrooms that I would have simply sliced.  But Shari suggests that I sauté them first in a little olive oil, then add balsamic vinegar, and let them cool to room temperature.  My salad goes from ordinary to extraordinary (well, not quite, but almost) with Shari’s suggestion.

It’s about 6:45 now, and all is under control.  Alexander is about to leave to meet some friends to watch a basketball game when he says, “Hey, there’s no sound coming from the TV.  I don’t know what’s wrong but I’ve gotta run.  I’m late already.”  And with that, he leaves.

For the next 45 minutes, Shari and I plug and unplug every connection from the back of the TV.  I can remember when there was only one.  Nothing is working.  Finally, we try playing a DVD and that works, so it’s not the TV.  It’s the cable box.  But the TV in my room is fine.  I’m thinking that worst case scenario seven of us can squeeze in my bedroom.  But then Shari re-boots the cable box .  Guests start arriving.  And we have sound.  Evening saved.

Pam arrives with two bottles of wine.  Corinne comes with marinated roasted peppers in a pesto sauce that she’s made.  “It’s so easy,” she says, then describes a recipe that is way beyond my abilities.  For starters, I never realized that skins could be peeled off of peppers.  Janice arrives with more wine and six gigantic gourmet cupcakes from Crumbs, all decorated in variations of black and white. In New York, it's not just the people who dress predominantly in those colors.

Then Robyn comes with a cake she made, worthy of being featured on the cover of Bon Appetit.

Even Zelia shows up for a little while, despite her thinking she wouldn’t come as she doesn’t like award shows. 

Last year I would have just had the salad; but not this year.  I eat one and half slices of lasagna, salad, roasted peppers, a small slice of the cake, one chocolate-covered strawberry, and a third of a cupcake.  I'm pretty sure I can be good the rest of the week.

We all put $10 in a bowl, and there are three winners:  Janice, Pam and I.   But truthfully, at the risk of sounding all gushy, I feel like the big winner, to be friends with so many smart, fun and nice women.  It’s a great night.  And with Alexander’s permission, I send home the leftover desserts.  

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