I realize the depth of my resolve. I know the truth of my heart: I can and will pump out a cocktail buffet for 70 with nary a chipped nail nor flyaway. But I will not arrive at that place until Saturday and the truth until then is this: If you do this it will help you to appreciate your caterer. Or, to feel victorious when all are assembled and happily noshing on their Jerked Pork with Chutney on Plantains and Tenderloin on Caper Crostini. I, for one will leap upon the granite, sparkling cider in hand, and proclaim the ability of Hosts and Hostesses everywhere. This would be so much easier to accomplish were I not nearly seven months pregnant!
But, why? Why does your Hostess insist on not calling the two fine caterers she has long nudged into action on her behalf? Why would the Hostess tempt the gods of entertaining disaster by coordinating, cooking, and baking entirely by herself knowing her absolute penchant for perfection and correctness?
For you, Cher. Because someone needed to try to prove this can be done at home by someone other than a professional. Because worse days than these could come our way and I want you to feel confident that you can do the work of exorbitant caterers, party planners, and florists.
I don't want you to look at Martha Stewart and Ina Garten and believe they are Hostesses of another caliber than you. However, I also don't want to fool you into believing not sweating the details nor trying to perfect any undertaking is an acceptable way to go about doing anything.
If, at this very moment you feel as though you could not run the entertaining equivalent of a laundromat, you are not alone. I am not with you but I receive emails, calls, and homing pigeon advises from those in the laundromat with you. It is my goal to encourage you to take those first steps towards counting on yourself as much as any professional, thus freeing you from shying away from having people in, in a time when it certainly could do all our hearts a world of good.
The only way to be great at this is to wade in as often as you can manage it. Call someone up, invite them over, make something, pour something, sweat it because it does matter how you receive another, and learn that you can enjoy it at the same time.
I will be back momentarily with photos, notes, and tales from the front lines of do-it-yourself large party planning and execution, but if you forgive me just now, the blini need wrapped and frozen...