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Over the years, we had many different things we might never have tried. There was the night we had Polynesian and were asked to come dressed for the part. Most of us thought grass skirts and the like but there was one couple, John and Mary, who took it one step further. They came dressed as obnoxious tourists complete with loud print shirts and several cameras dangling around each of their necks. And the time we had a hobo dinner. I always knew Leon was a bum, but that night he outdid himself. We had dinners where white tie and tails were required. Mostly we just had good food and lots of fun.
That particular group lasted until 1990 when finally after slowly losing most of its membership, the last four of us gave up. We missed it for a long time.
And then . . . my husband started nagging. "We should get another dinner club going!" He meant I should! "Don't you think it would be nice to do again?" For me to do! "Think of all the nice people we met!" Well, he had me there.
After two years of nagging, this man who didn't want to go in the first place, succeeded in getting me started again. I made up a flyer, combed through my rolodex and invited 24 of the most adventurous people I could come up with. They came, all of them. They were curious and interested. We had a fabulous cocktail party and at the end of the evening we had nine couples who wanted to join. The others weren't sure of being able to handle the time commitment. No matter! We made three groups of three couples each and went from there. At the second rotation we had ten couples. As I write this, we're getting ready for our third round in September and we're up to eleven couples. Looks promising!
Most often, the menus involve recipes for dishes that the host couple, at least, has never made before. This is one of the things that makes a Dining In dinner so interesting. We've had some truly memorable dishes. And some of them were successfully so! So go ahead. Search for that recipe you had somewhere and were dying to duplicate, dabble in the cuisine of a country you've never been to, or plan a menu around your favourite theme . . . garlic in everything? . . . a drunken feast? . . . edible flowers? . . . tropical splendour? . . . a hobo fest? If you're so inclined, you can even ask guests to dress the part. The sky's the limit!
When each couple in the group has had a chance to host a dinner, we'll do the cocktail party again, invite any new comers along and regroup. Like before, each couple brings an hors d'oeuvre - something they've never made before - and whatever they're drinking.
It's rare to get the exact same group twice. Imagine, dinner with adults, not having to cut up someone's food and fuss and bother to a minimum . . . plus new faces now and then.
Here's a couple of recipes from our cocktail parties. I've credited the people that brought them. Maybe you can try them at your first cocktail party. It can start with as few as four couples. What have you got to loose?
This one was truly wonderful, and so simple too.
Radicchio and Pears
Contributed by: Vince and Helen Perruzza
2 heads of radicchio
4 pears, peeled and sliced
juice of a lemon
1/2 cup Roquefort or any blue cheese
1 8oz tub of soft cream cheese
After peeling and slicing the pears, place them in water to which lemon juice has been added to keep them from browning.
Whip together the Roquefort and the cream cheese until smooth.
Separate the heads of radicchio into individual leaves.
To each leaf add a dollop of cheese mixture and two or three slices of pear.
Serve at room temperature.