I’ve never cooked for more than 2 people. Me plus one.
The idea of throwing a dinner party is daunting. There are too many factors at play — Who to invite? Will they get along? Do they have dietary restrictions? What would they want to eat? Will they do the right thing and bring a bottle of wine?
Oddly enough, I can imagine how a 3-course supper is going to play out with fictional characters better than I can with a handful of my best friends. People in movies are predictable. They follow a 3-act structure. They have sure-fire traits and flaws. And most likely they’ll be out of my life (if I want them to be) after 90 minutes or so.
So, while wanting to take on the challenge of throwing a banquet of sorts but lacking the true confidence to do so I introduce…Dinner For Faux.
What 3 film characters would you invite to dinner?
It’s the best possible solution. My East Village kitchen in NYC is far too small to host an actual gathering of this magnitude. My cooking skills would be questioned and critiqued. And my friends — I know them already. Allow me to imagine what it would be like to break bread with The Dude, Forrest Gump and Mary Poppins.
Unfortunately, all three had prior engagements.
Which is why I decided on the soft-spoken Edward Scissorhands, handsome mustachioed devil Ron Burgundy from Anchorman and the level-headed Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction. I considered extending a +1 to each guest, but I remembered Ed has convinced his whole town he’s dead and popping up just to secure a date would be counterproductive.
My company and me make 4. Four servings per course. Hence “Dinner for Faux,” you see?
Edward, being the polite young man that he is, is the first to arrive. It’s one of the reasons he’s on the list. Every host likes it when the guests offer to help set up. I put his knife skills to work as there is much prep to be done.
As expected, Alex Forrest rings the doorbell. She is a lady, after all, and her stalker-esque nature would have no effect on her initial etiquette. She comes looking classy — lovers-turned-psychos tend to have a history of making good first impressions by their very nature.
Late as usual is Ron Burgundy. With that charming smile and impeccable suit can you blame him for taking a few extra minutes getting pretty? He also comes empty-handed. To his credit, he was going to bring a whole wheel of cheese but his dog ate it.
We’re all a few drinks deep, feeling pretty social I’d say. Best to get some food in those empty, alcohol-absorbing stomachs. The first course is for you, Burgundy. I know how much you love burritos, but boy are they filling! Don’t forget we have 2 more dishes ahead — so with our eye on the comprehensive meal, and of course Ron’s fickle stomach, we’ve cooked up some Mini Roasted Veggie Burritos:
I remind the Anchorman that this appetizer should not be paired with a glass of milk, to which he gives a hearty chuckle. Not sure if he truly understands why he’s laughing though. The Mexican-rooted dish might have been too exotic a choice for Edward’s taste, but I think he does his share as a respectful visitor by downing a healthy “no thank you” portion. It’s difficult to tell if Alex enjoyed it as I saw she was getting lost in Ron’s eyes. Still, the starter was sensible, light and flavorful.
Tension grows at the table as Ron’s continuous name-dropping is constantly interrupting Alex’s stories. Edward and I share an anxious look — or just a normal look as E.S.’s facial expression rarely changes. Alex’s fists clench, her knuckles whiten, and I know we are seconds from her lashing out at the San Diegan with an “I will not be ignored!” Luckily, our entrée is ready to be served and I’m positive it’s one that will please our only female diner.
Alex understandably blushes at first — the reason we are serving this bunny-braise is due to her history of murdering long-eared pets. One forkful of the dish and everyone’s mood changes. Comfort food, at least for me, white wine and Dijon mustard was a staple marinade growing up in my home. From south of the border to the center of France, Edward has had quite a little culinary adventure this evening. He’s warming up to the idea of trying new things. Ron loads up on the protein, knowing that tomorrow is his day at the gym to do arms and back — and we know he has to be well-nourished to do at least 1,000 bicep curls. And Alex, she seems to be asking a lot about the recipe, particularly if it could work with other pets, err animals, as well.
After the heavy-sauced main course, dessert called for something light. Using the shaved ice I had Scissorhands prepare earlier, it was snow cone time. The recluse of the group perks up a bit at the sight of something familiar. I hoped that somehow, someway he’d magically create snow outside by furiously dicing up the frosty treat — but alas it’s July.
An original and appropriate way to end a summertime meal, the sweet finale was well-worth the risk of brain freeze. Half a cone in, Ed finally opens up a bit — I was unaware that he was a huge football fan! Did you know he won his fantasy league 3 years running? Clearly, life alone in a castle leaves a lot of down time — and there’s only so much creepy landscaping you can do.
Ron’s quick to wipe his mouth, and his legendary soup strainer, and jetison out the door before Alex has a chance to get out the door and follow him home. Can’t say I blame him for the abrupt exit.
Alex gives me the old two-cheek French kiss goodbye, attempting to keep an air of mystery about her. Could’ve done without her whispering, “I know where you live” in my ear.
Edward sits around, flipping back and forth between “Conan” and “How I Met Your Mother” reruns, until I offer him a ride home. That’s when he gets the hint to leave. He’s socially awkward, y’all.
I take the opportunity to give my complements to the fictional chef.
Feel free to let me know who should be included in the next DINNER FOR FAUX in the comments section — or tweet me @mosjeph and @foodrepub.