Daily Diversion #145: Party Like It’s 1912?

My sister-in-law Laura gave me this nifty old book as a housewarming gift. It was printed in 1912.

The Book of Parties and Pastimes

The Book of Parties and Pastimes

We are hosting a big party in 3 weeks, so this will come in handy! We are going to foist at least one of the frivolities detailed in this book on our guests. There are so  many to choose from, including:

  • An Alpine Adventure
  • A Novel Cakewalk
  • A Grown-Up Mother Goose Party (ha!)
  • A Peanut Frolic
  • A Musical Burlesque
  • To Meet Our Presidents
  • A Radium Party (oh, my)
  • Some Novel Dances
  • A Deep Sea Dinner

How could any of these possibly go wrong?

Counting Down to Our Burns Night Supper, Part Two: The Toast

A great advantage of throwing an annual themed party is that you have the opportunity to tweak some of the components, adjusting for both so-so elements and after-the-fact brilliant ideas. Knowing that you have a do-over approximately 365 days in the future eliminates any post-party regret. Probably the biggest addition to our 2013 Burns Night Supper is the Toasting Contest. The Chef came up with the idea; he’s a smarty, that one.

All toasts must be original compositions. A bottle of Scotch goes to the winner. Am I puckish in hoping for a bunch of tipsy, off-the-cuff entries? Alcohol often breeds strange, unexpected eloquence in tongue-tied speakers, so it is a possibility. That’s entertainment, folks! Does it sound like I plan on plying my guests with drinks in order to promote a more interesting Toasting Contest? That is not my intention. No, not at all. Nothing to see here.

The Chef has prepared a back-up toast, in case no one else enters the contest. That would be awful, and would mortally wound our sensitive feelings. At least we’ll have a bottle of Scotch in which to drown our sorrows. We hope that this newest delight pleases our guests. If not, there’s always next year.

The Chef's Toast-in-Progress

The Chef’s Toast-in-Progress. Instagram.


Counting Down to Our Burns Night Supper, Part One: The Poetry

A poetry-filled party might not sound like a lot of fun to some people, but it is the heart of any good Burns Night Supper. Without love for the famous Scottish poet, there would be no laughter and whisky-fueled merriment. It would be just another run-of-the-mill party with bland finger food and men in pants. Who wants that, when this lovely alternative is at hand? Any takers? Nah. That’s exactly what I thought. The Chef, in addition to being highly skilled at his craft, is a charming, idiosyncratic speaker. He can rock the shit out of any poet’s words, from Emily Dickinson to Allen Ginsberg. (Don’t even get me started on his ability to declaim Shakespearean monologues from memory.) In other words, even though I am a stage trained thespian and real-life professional writer, I leave the Burns Night performance-poetry up to him. If you’re wondering at this point exactly what my contribution to the evening is, other than being stunning eye candy, I won’t blame you. The Chef, he cooks. He recites poetry. What, then, does Maedez do? For starters, I help select the Robbie Burns passages that will be incorporated into the festivities. If you’re keeping score, that’s one check on my side of the ledger. Continue reading

A Year in Books/Day 46: Scotch Whisky

  • Title: Scotch Whisky A Liquid History
  • Author: Charles MacLean
  • Year Published: 2005 (Cassell Illustrated)
  • Year Purchased: 2009
  • Source: A dear friend.
  • About: The history of Scotch, covering the years 1494-1994.
  • Motivation: This book was a thank you gift from a close friend. My (now) husband and I love Scotch. In fact, my appreciation of and knowledge about the beverage helped him fall in love with me. Although this is the stuff of another story or ten, our mutual love of the drink has been a pretty constant thread in our relationship. Aw, romance!
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 37: “In 1707 Scotland was one of the poorest and most backward countries in Europe. Agriculture was at the stage it had reached centuries before; manufacturing, as we understand the term, did not exist. Even the gentry lived in relatively straitened circumstances-an average gentlewoman would possess no more than three or four fine dresses throughout her lifetime.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9 1/2


A Year in Books/Day 22: I Like You

  • Title: I Like You Hospitality Under the Influence
  • Author: Amy Sedaris
  • Year Published: 2006 (Warner Books)
  • Year Purchased: 2006
  • Source: This was a Christmas gift from my lovely Mother.
  • About: A refreshingly fun, kooky entertaining guide full of peculiar crafts and seriously good recipes.
  • Motivation: I want to be Amy Sedaris when I grow up. Really, I think she’s the best. I also enjoy throwing anything-but-boring parties whenever I can pry myself from the keyboard.
  • Times Read: Cover-to-cover-1. As a cookbook-frequently.
  • Random Excerpt/Page 73: “Don’t question a lumberjack and never look one in the eye. Be polite when suggesting they remove their cleats, but be prepared if they don’t. I always have a clear path to the table, and another to the bathroom. Feeding lumberjacks can be very rewarding when you take care to follow all the necessary precautions.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10++
    English: Amy Sedaris book signing (Simple Time...

    Image via Wikipedia