Thursday, 4 September 2008

Don't ever come dine with me....

I was watching Come Dine With Me the other evening, believe me there was nothing else on. It was either the peculiar delights of CDWM or the dishes. The dishes had only been there for a day so the TV won. But, if I'm being honest, I quite like that show. For those of you unaware of the car crash delights of Come Dine With Me it's a TV show where four "ordinary" people take it in turns to host a dinner party for the other three in their home. The guests award points based on quality of food and the other contestant's skills as host. For some reason this is done on the taxi ride home when they are usually quite blotto.
the humble fondue
it's one step away from listening to ABBA and wife swapping.

It's an amusing show. Like all these reality match n mix shows the producers try to ensure that they mix polar opposites so that there is a bit of friction and amusement for us the viewer to get our rocks off to, vegan with a carnivore, a committed chauvinist with a lesbian, and so on. I mean would you really tune into watch four people having dinner without the imminent threat of violence/shouting? I think not. And even if they aren't fighting they are being served some of the worst food imaginable. Abominations like Brian Moore's Banana and Orange Surprise. The only surprise being that it wasn't stuffed back in his face. It should be noted that each of the recipes on the CDWM website comes with a warning,
"Please note this recipe is the contestant's own and has not been tested professionally. Like the Come Dine With Me contestants, you could be creating a culinary delight or dining disaster, so switch on your ovens and be bold."

Fine dining, this is not. Watching people, so convinced in their culinary skills, serving complete strangers chocolate and salmon salad (I wouldn't lie to you, I'm not that sort of waiter) is all very amusing but you don't watch CDWM to be enthralled by the food. Enthralled no, sick in a bag, yes. You watch CDWM to snoop around other peoples homes. It's like MTV's Cribs but without the money or penis shaped swimming pools.

And really isn't that why people have dinner parties? To show off the new carpet and three piece suit they got from the DFS sale? It is! Come on just admit it.

I'd rather watch CDWM than have to host or attend another dinner party again in my life. Dinner party? Sounds so 1970's, one almost expects keys in a bowl and a fondue whilst ABBA blasts from the tape deck and everyone drinks Martini or Le Piat D'or. Of course we don't call then dinner parties now. Now it's "friends round for something to eat", nothing special just friends for something to eat. Boke.

I am not a fan of dinner parties. Shocked eh?

It's not just because they clearly take work away from restaurants but because I cant relax, neither as a host or as a guest. I haven't hosted a dinner party in over ten years. Fuck that for a carry on. All that cleaning and tidying that needs done is such a freaking bore and inevitably a waste of time. Then there are the hours spent over the stove creating something wonderful only to discover at the last minute that somebody's new boyfriend doesn't like fucking duck or is allergic to the bloody salsa you spent two days tracking down the ingredients for. Oh but you could just imagine their faces if I was to whip out a KFC Bargain bucket complete with 2 litre bottle of Coke Zero and frozen fucking dessert. Horror, that's what their little faces would say, horror and dismay.

And then you have to try and convince the inquisitive fuckers to leave. OH MY GOD IS THERE ANY FUCKING CHANCE!? It's 3am and they wanna ask you about your holidays from three years ago. No no no no no no no, GET OUT!!! I cant have people in my house for extended periods. (An hour representing the time before I start to twitch) I ache to be stripped to my boxers eating ice cream and gently fingering my keyboard. But some people cant take a hint. I mean I actually fell asleep at a dinner party in my own house one night only to wake up three hours later to find that no one had done the decent thing and gone bloody home. Good grief if they don't leave when you fall asleep when would they go? I know falling asleep as host of a dinner party is bad form but I was really really bored. It's a wonder I was married for the year and a bit that I was.

And it's no better when you go round to someone else's house. Oh hell no, it's worse. You have to eat third rate food on your one night off that week, you have to go outside in the pishing rain for a smoke and your girlfriend is giving you daggers for not joining in the mindless chatter about LOST or Prison Break or what have you. Oh I really cant be arsed with it all. And when is it okay to leave? You cant be the first one to go, no matter if you are working in the morning or not. You have to stay until someone else goes and even then you cant leave straight away, you have to wait for a good hour after they have gone before you can escape. That extra hour is spent discussing the couple that just left.

No, I'm not a fan of dinner parties, keys in a bowl or not. And I think people have finally got the hint too as I haven't been invited to one in a very long time. Wouldn't mind but I am a hoot until I get bored and want to go home.

This post makes me sound more miserable than I actually am but I just don't like dinner parties or god forbid, "friends for something to eat." As Jules Renard put it,

"The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving any excuse."


But what say you?

28 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Sniffle&Cry said...

I’d like to go for food and drink and music where the host falls asleep.

Rudimentary food, drink and mad conversation though. (More time for fingering your keyboard if you served finger food).

Sexist bastard that I am, the gals get fucked up about the look of the joint.

Whatever works really, but I like food and drink with likeminded souls.

Good food for thought Manuel.

Manuel said...

sniffle&cry: I like going out for dinner and then retiring to an empty house.....ah happiness.....

Medbh said...

I love hosting dinner parties, Manuel! I love the planning, the anticipation and even the meltdown I have hours before the doorbell rings. The funny thing is that I hardly ever get reciprocal invitations and when I do, they always forget what I can't eat even though I told and emailed them. We've lived here 2 years and in that time I've been given only two meals that I could eat and were worth the bother.

I can understand why you're reluctant to go on your night off and risk the questionable food.

You may not like them but you had better realize that you and Little Miss Manuel will be taking the train down to come a dinner party when we're in Dublin. Oh, yes.

MJ said...

I'm drinking my dinner as I type this.

What was the question?

Anonymous Boxer said...

Dinner Parties?

zzzzzzzz, sorry, what?

There's nothing I hate more than destroying my kitchen AND my diet.

Honestly, I much prefer dining out with friends. EVERYONE eats what they want and I'm not doing the dishes.

Anonymous Boxer said...

is that a new picture?

I likey.

BusBus said...

Try going to one where you don't speak the language that they are using. That was my Saturday night. After about three or so hours, someone finally was kind enough to speak english to me.

(Keep in mind, I speak three languages....they just weren't using any of them).

Native Minnow said...

I'm with you and Boxer on this one: Dining out is much better than a dinner party. Unless of course it's my Swiss friend making fondue. That wins every time.

Simon said...

Gone are the days of nights out 'til 6.00AM, out of my tree on poppers and cheap whizz. I now enjoy the more civilised dinner and drinks at a good eatery. I have been to the occasional good dinner party - great company, light and inoffensive food, high quality wine... but the more often experienced dodgy 'concoction' of some God awful 'special' ingredient has made me shudder at the words "drinks from 20.00 to be eating at 21.00"... *shudder*.

redleeroy said...

CDWM is a horror show. 'Her indoors' insists we watch it. I end up making a cup of tea that takes em 45 mins.

I don't mind dinner parties though, apart from the first slightly awkward 45 mins when people are sober. The rest is ok.

dave said...

CDWM??? What a load of balls, can't fucking stand it. If you're bored Manuel, go and watch some porno instead ffs!

As for dinner parties, I don't mind them. Call me a cheapskate, but some food that someone else has made and a few bottles from the off licence? Saves spending £80 a head going out now, doesn't it?
Doesn't really matter where you are, going out or sitting in, as long as the craic is good, who cares where you are?
And if you get bored, just go home.

Manuel said...

medbh: bwahahahahhaha.......will you have a covered smoking area?

mj: I've seen your parties......and I'm definitely not going.....

boxer: I couldn't agree more......huzzah

busbus: yeah not cool......eek

minnow: no no it doesn't!!! dinner out!

simon: "drinks from 20.00 to be eating at 21.00" hate that, hate that a lot.....

redleeroy: no it's all horror......people pawing at your stuff and eyeing up your toiletries......yuk..

Manuel said...

dave: but you cant just go home......there's carefully mapped choreography to leaving.......only I don't know what it is....

Conan Drumm said...

I suspect that you're very good company really, and eating at home with friends is one of the great pleasures in life. Admittedly there's no tips but surely that's bearable every now and then?

sheepworrier said...

I actually quite like the really sarky voice-over fella on CDWM.

I'm with Dave on this one - as long as the craic is good, it doesn't really matter where you are. My mates aren't really that civilized yet anyway, so dinner parties are few and far between.

Queenie said...

People who have 'dinner parties' are usually just trying to network or go home with a better coat than they arrived in.

There's this awful snobbery about having to sit and eat with your mouth closed like you're entertaining your great aunt Celia, and not farting.

Just be glad that you can see through the falseness Manny.

By the way, is 'keyboard' a euphamism for something?

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I invite people over for one reason; it forces me to occasionally clean my house.

And sometimes they bring presents.

healysequoia said...

It's my turn to have a dinner party amongst my crowd. They are constantly feeding me (really quite well!) for free so it's high time I returned the favor, although cooking is not my strong suit. I'm the one that always brings booze to the pot lucks, is it ok to let M&S do the cooking and then I can pass it off as my own?

Steve said...

I don't think we have ever done a dinner party.Sounds too formal.When we have people over on we light up the BBQ and bring out the beer and wine.That is in the summer then in the winter here in Canada no one visits as it is too blinkin' cold.Problem solved.

dave said...

"there's carefully mapped choreography to leaving"

Yes, there is Manuel. Here's mine....

"Ok you fuckers, I'm fucking fucked,so I'm fucking gonna fuck off home. Bye"

That's all there is to it :-)

Kitty Cat said...

I like fondue. When it's melted Toblerone with profiteroles.

My brain isn't working properly yet.

paddy said...

Same in Australia as Canada - the BBQ rules.

Step 1 Buy crusty bread, assorted meats and prepare a big salad.

Step 2 Buy case of beer and some wine.

Step 3 Stand around and get drunk while you burn the christ out of the meat.

Step 4 When the beer is gone and someone has vomited behind the garden shed tell them all to fuck off.

Step 5 Pass out in folding chair while the mosquitoes feast on you.

Simon said...

See, paddy's BBQ sounds like my sort of dinner party...someone will start chucking a frisbee or kicking a football around and break something, someone else will be given the burger that was dropped onto the floor, and the vegetarian will insist on not eating anything that has been cooked on the same BBQ as the meat... tw@t.

Manuel said...

twenty three comments and yet not one invitation to dinner......pfft.....

Anonymous said...

It really does depend who you dinner party with. There is a film called Women Talking Dirty [1999] which features probably the funniest, drunkest, most tragic dinner party between friends - and is not far off from I experience with old mates about twice a year.

Mary said...

well, having dinner party can be a real pain in the ass, but it does depends on which company you're having your party with.

as for me, if my close friends are involved, i wouldn't mind going through all the trouble, especially for a small party involving just the few of us.

but if it's a huge dinner party, then i'm with you Manuel :)

Silverstar said...

If they want more than pizza and soda at my house they're out of luck. Usually only invite the boyfriend. He's immune to the mess.

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