2020-05-20 – If you’re sheltering in place (and maybe going a little stir crazy), I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than to have a virtual dinner party with friends and family. That’s what we did last night and it was fabuloso.
I have to be honest. I wasn’t too sure about doing this. But my son Chef Nat was doing this with his long-time mentor Chef Austin from Elite Personal Chefs and we wanted to support him. It sounded like it might be a bit of a chore, rather than fun. Chef Austin and Chef Nat were going to talk us through the preparation of our evening meal over Zoom. It sounded education. But I was surprised. Less webinar. More webin-eat.
We had all the ingredients ready when Kit and I logged in—and the counters were clear and my laptop was in a safe place. At this point, I was all “let’s get this over with.” But then the pictures of the participants started appearing on the screen. First, our niece Valarie from Wisconsin, then her brother John and his girlfriend (Jen? we hadn’t met her till last night) from Oregon. Then our son Cal and, one by one, Cal’s and Nat’s friends Richard and Emily and Nathaniel and Lucy, and Nora and Frankie from New York from Nat’s college days and Nat’s old cheffing buddy Lee. Many we hadn’t seen for quite a while. It was a treat.
Then the cooking began. We had a full menu to prepare. It seemed like a lot to do. Be we could talk to each other and banter. You didn’t even have to cook. Nora poured herself a drink and said she’d make the dinner another time.
And I did learn a couple of things. There apparently are five classes of seasonings (or five classes of something): salty, sweet, pepper, fat, and acid. You can get salty from salt, of course, but you can also get it from the olive brine. You can get sweet from sugar, but you can also get it from certain vegetables. Pepper? Well, I’m not sure about that one—but you can definitely get it from pepper. Fat can drip from the chicken or be rendered from bacon, or you can pour a little olive oil into the pan. And acid can come from vinegar or lemon juice or tomatoes. So that’s one thing.
The other thing is that when you chop vegetables or other things, you should try to make the pieces the same size so they all take the same time to cook. And I learned one other thing. Sometimes, if you know what you’re doing, the vegetables that you usually avoid eating can be kinda tasty!
So that’s how we spent our evening, making a meal with people we love. You don’t really think it is possible over the Internet. But it is. And we have leftovers!
If you are interested in doing this with us, let us know. As the boys say, I’m down for that.
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