The other day on my way to work, Eve and I were listening to the BBC Newshour, which is my favorite news show (mostly because of Robin Lustig and Claire Bolderson, who are quintessential British reporters). In a story about the News Corp. hacking scandal, there was a mention of “kitchen suppers.” Someone high up in the News Corp. organization was having kitchen suppers with someone high up in the British Government…was it even the prime minister? The phrase implied meals with an intimacy and casualness that resonated with me, even as it showed the inappropriateness between the perpetrators.
I decided I liked the term kitchen suppers very much and felt it was exactly the right name for the kind of cooking and entertaining I like to do. But first, I thought, it would be good to research it a bit. Turns out it’s a loaded term, referring originally to the meals that servants would eat. Upper classes had dinner parties, served by servants who had kitchen suppers. The latest scandal is that politicians are trying to “connect with the masses” while having so-called kitchen suppers, apparently with Fleet Sheet journalists.
Well, perhaps I was a servant in a past life, but kitchen suppers are what I like to have. I also found a blog about them, which I thought mentioned the word “titwhizz,” which I thought was hysterical and funny. Turns out they really said “tizzwhizz,” which is not as funny, but both words would be appropriate to use, discuss, and dissect at one of my kitchen suppers.
This past week, I actually hosted two kitchen suppers in my kitchen. Both were informal—one course with some snacks put out beforehand and desserts most excellently made at the last minute by Eve. The key is always being ready with things cleaned up about the house and the yard, which I am improving on radically these days, thanks to a bit of help. When things are generally cleaned up it’s a lot easier to say “come on over Monday night for a kitchen supper!” And then go to my blog (which I myself refer back to often!) for an easy recipe that tastes yum but doesn’t take all day because, after all, I work all day!
Best thing is it takes the stress and pressure out of entertaining, I think. I’m not going to show you pictures of a perfect place setting or a fabulous-looking plate of food. It was self-serve and we were too busy chatting and cooking to take the time to take pictures, which in itself is a form of relaxation—being in the moment, not judging, just enjoying.
Maria, whenever I have my mid-winter lunches, say the second weekend after New Year, I invite a group of friends over, when the weather is bleak and it’s boring. Iput cooked food out on the kitchen counter buffet style and let them go to it! It’s easy, fun, and as you say, less stressful than holding a sit down formal lunch or dinner party. Dessert is usually simple, (sometimes I buy dessert, or some of the guests bring several types) and I put it on the other side of the kitchen with plates, cups and saucers, tea, coffee, different waters and the usual condiments, also buffet style. Every grabs what they want, whenever they want. They opt to clean their plates and place them on the counter for me to put in the dishwasher. Clean-up is easy and everyone is full and happy. Later I’ll put out some wine if anyone wants it. We sit and talk by a roaring fire until everyone is tired and leaves. Another luncheon done easy and well. Kept simple and made fun!
Forgive the errors. Thanks.
On a different subject by the way, I’ve already supported Prop 37, 3 days ago. Thanks for reminding everyone.