Sunday is my birthday and I have decided to have friends over for a dinner party. Yes, for 20th time, I am cooking on my birthday!
Planning is key to having a successful event and it is always smart to try out any new dishes beforehand. Thankfully I have a guinea pig (my husband) to test everything I make. As an added bonus, he also does the dishes! It's great to have someone who supports my cooking hobby. Any single cooks out there, pick a mate with an appetite who does dishes and you will forever be happy.
Besides doing dishes, what else makes a great guinea pig? He tells me the truth when the food sucks. Take today for example, the "Dukkah" I read about in the March, '05 issue of Bon Appetit was a bit of a surprise. I thought this nut and spice mixture would be a spotlight addition to the menu for my Moroccan themed dinner party. It wasn't awful, but you have to understand, I imagined everyone clamoring to dip their olive oil soaked bread into this exotic blend of nuts and spices, so I was a little disappointed when my guinea pig said it was "pungent and too strong". (I think it may be an acquired taste) Even though I personally liked the Dukkah, I understood what he meant by pungent, and as interesting and exotic the food may be, what a hostess really wants is for everybody to like it... and let you know it. I am now prepared to serve it forth as originally planned, only to put a disclaimer on this one. It's like wearing sweatpants to the grocery store and expecting no compliments. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. More importantly I now know that this will be a backdrop to another appetizer that will hopefully knock their socks off. More on that another day.