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?

Here’s a Synopsis of Our Burns Night Supper and the Recipe for My Vanilla-Blueberry-Bacon Cupcakes, with Mouthwatering Photos

Our 2013 Burns Night Supper was a rousing success. It was a great reminder of what a wonderful, loyal, hilarious group of friends we have. The Chef and I spent months assembling every piece of the puzzle: the menu, music, guest list, drinks, poetry, toasts. Finally, on 25th January, everything locked into place: we had an amazing time. Once our friends started arriving, I more or less put my camera down for the night. Good photos are in short supply, but I plan on posting a video of the winning toast soon. To make up for lack of photographic evidence that the party, indeed, took place, I have decided to share my famous cupcake recipe. These cupcakes are, to be honest if a bit immodest, scrumptious. After concocting this dessert, I spent 2+ years refining the method and ingredients. Now you, dear readers, can benefit from my diligence. A few words of warning, however: one taste, and your friends and family will pounce on your cupcakes like a pack of wild beasties, leaving behind nothing but shreds of cupcake liners, pools of drool, and their dignity. The Burns Night revelers would tell you as much


Fear not: although this recipe is comprised of three components, with each one made entirely from scratch, it is easy. Trust me. Because of setting time, we’re going to cook backwards and assemble forwards. Continue reading

Counting Down to Our Burns Night Supper, Part Three: Scottish Libations

This morning, The Chef made a trip to the party store to pick up what he calls Produce of Scotland, which is a crucial component of our Burns Night Supper. Although we will also serve wine, beer, and miscellaneous alcohol, next to these lovelies they matter not.

Produce of Scotland

Produce of Scotland. Photo by The Chef.

The McClelland’s, although not our favourite, is perfect for the Scotch Tasting event: there’s a Lowland, a Highland, and an Islay. The wee bottles of Glenfiddich are the Toasting Contest Prize. The Glenrothes on the right is just because. The Botanist Gin on the left is for the odd person who isn’t into whisky but still wants to enjoy a sip of sweet Scotland’s finest.

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