Dream Dinner

Jessie: In New Hampshire, missing entertaining guests in the home.

If there is one thing I love to do, it is to throw parties. Big ones, small ones, intimate gatherings and potlucks for dozens of guests. I love to choose a theme, create the invitations, plan the menu and set about throwing open the doors to let my guests come in to be entertained.

I adore the flickering candles, the gleaming china, the beautifully plated food. Music drifting under the burble of cheerful voices, clinking glasses, friends both old and new smiling greetings to one another. Alas, it has been too long.

But, since a real dinner party is not in the offing, I have been dreaming up some imaginary ones whilst awaiting an all clear for merriments to resume. It is not an original game but it amuses me nonetheless. I feel no need to constrain myself to realities under such circumstances and shamelessly imagine an acquaintaince with greatness or timeline impossibilities.

First off, I would invite family. I would like to have known my grandmothers, great-grandmothers and my mother-in-law when they were young women. I would love to invite them all to tea. I would invite my great-grandparents on my mother’s side for dessert fondue as they each had a wicked sweet tooth. I would adore hearing their assorted Maine accents once more. I would have my aunts over for finger sandwiches and lemonade in the screen house on the back deck in view of the gardens and the bird feeders since they loved such things.

I would also love to host a dinner party for famous authors I have loved over the years. I think it likely the party would be boisterous and loads of fun. I love the work of so many authors but from their writng s I think I would love to sit down to a meal with Llyoyd Alexander, E.F. Benson, Charlotte McLeod, Elizabeth Peters, Dorothy Parker and P.G. Wodehouse. I think I would have that one catered so that I could focus completely on the chatter!

Finally, if I could have my druthers, I would throw a party for my own characters. I would love to see what they would get up to if set to spin in my home, milling about with cocktail glasses in their hands, free to get to know people from books not their own. I am certain my sleuth Beryl would admire Aunt Hazel from my Sugar Grove series. Edwina would love to chat about plants with Gwen, the protagonist from my first novel, Live Free or Die. Simpkins would likely try his hand at chatting up the Velmont sisters, Elva and Dovie, from my Change of Fortune books. I’d love to watch my sleuth Ruby do a tarot reading with one of my decks of cards or to eavesdrop on Constable Gibbs and Officer Warren Yancey comparing notes on police procedures on opposite sides of “the pond”.

Readers, which writers or characters would you invite to dinner? What would you serve?

32 Thoughts

  1. What fun imaginings, Jessie! I also love throwing parties particularly with food, and I miss it very much. We’re already planning outdoor Easter in July!

  2. Since I’m not what you would call a gourmet or a foodie (or whatever other term you might use) if I was having a dinner party, it would have to be a catered affair.

    I’m not sure who I’d invite if it was an authors-only guest list, but I have to say that I’m impressed that Jessie would invite Lloyd Alexander. I grew up reading his Chronicles of Prydain series, but I feel like he’s largely forgotten these days.

    I’m not having parties these days much like everyone else but my sister is cooking a birthday dinner for me next month. Her idea and I’m not one to turn down a steak dinner.

    1. I loved Lloyd Alexander’s books so much! When I was a child, whenever my mother offered her dogs treats she would ask if they wanted any “small munchings and crunchings”!

  3. I love this idea! I love throwing big parties, the kind that fill every seat at the dinner table and overflow to the back deck. Oh, I miss those.

    It’s been a while since we’ve all partied so I would invite Louisa Mae Alcott, PD James, Dorothy Parker, Dorothy L. Sayers, Dashiell Hammett, Robert B. Parker, and Stephen and Tabitha King. Because that would be a very mixed bag of guests, I’d serve era appropriate drinks, open with classic 1950s finger food hors d’oeuvres, move on to a spicy gazpacho, and then move the party outside for fried chicken, ambrosia, cold salads, so the guests could mix and mingle. We’d end with pecan, key lime, and apple pies and individual chocolate lava cakes.

  4. I love the idea of throwing a party for my characters. I’m not sure what Jim Duncan, Sally Castle and the gang would think of Betty Ahern and her friends. But it would be fun to watch!

  5. I’d love to invite Agatha Raisin (she gets a gin and tonic, of course), Hamish Macbeth (a pint o’ ale for him), Emily Pollifax (tea for her), Richard Jury (a pint for him, too) and Edwina and Beryl (you know what they like) over for a good Filipino chicken and pork adobo.

  6. You are an amazing hostess, Jessie! Even if it’s just eggs in the morning — yours always taste the best and I can never replicate them at home. I’d love to meet Maud Hart Lovelace who wrote my beloved Betsy-Tacy books. I’d take her out to lunch somewhere fabulous.

  7. There was a contest some years ago that asked you to write about which persons, real or fictional, you would most want to share a meal with and what the meal would be. I never entered, but decided that it would be a mushroom based menu with Frodo and his friends because they love mushrooms even more than I do! Of course the conversation would be all about their adventures in Middle Earth.

  8. Since I “met” her as a child and have loved all of her books for children and adults I would have a lovely lunch with Madeleine L’Engle. And, I would enjoy having a catered buffet for all of the Wicked Cozy authors and their characters. What fun to go from table to table and join in on and listen to the conversations. We might have to plan for weekly luncheons all year long, so everyone could talk to everyone else. 😉

  9. What a wonderful idea! Please invite me to your author dinner–the company sounds delightful. And having characters meet would be so much fun. As for long past relatives–I’d like to meet those I haven’t met. But for those I knew and loved–I’m reminded of the 3rd act of OUR TOWN. I’m not sure I could bear it. Wonderful post.

  10. Jessie, you know how much I admire your hostessing ability, because I do not have it.

    Though I knew my parents and grandparents well, and had all of them for a long time, there are so many things I didn’t ask them. I would love to have some time to do that.

    1. Aww, thanks, Barb! There are lots of things I wish I could ask my grandparents too! There are so many things you don’t even know to think of when you are quite young and then, it is too late! I once dreamt one of my grandmothers came to me from beyond the grave to tell me a secret. There might be a book in it one day!

  11. What a beautifully written essay (for that is what it really is!). My literary feast would include many of your guests (P.G. Wodehouse! Dorothy Parker!) but also Alexander McCall Smith, P.D. James, Patrick O’Brien, Nora Ephron, Zadie Smith, Sue Grafton, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen… Oh dear, the list is endless… I guess I’m going to have to do this as an Open House, with my literary friends drifting in and out through the course of the day as they please. Because this is a Big Deal (and because in my fantasy I have TONS of money), maybe I’ll stick to something simple and elegant, like blini with caviar and lots of champagne so I don’t mess it up 😉

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Amy! I love your list and the notion of an open house! It would make an enormous, and far more satisfying, number of guests possible! I like your menu too! Nothing can go wrong when there is champagne, can it?

  12. Since I really don’t cook, I’ve never given this much thought. Who ever would be happy with pizza, I guess.

  13. I’m not really a party person, but I would love to visit with, in no particular order:
    Robert Heinlein
    Andre Norton
    Anne McCaffery
    Julie Garwood
    Jayne Ann Krentz
    Alison Stuart
    Great Grandma Moore
    Maria Callas
    Anne Marrow Lindbergh
    Tom Huddleston
    Richard Burton
    JRR Tolkien
    Robin Mckinley
    My Mother and her Best friend
    Dorothy as young women
    Robert Downey Jr.
    Steven Moffat
    Eliza Hamilton
    And I’m sure I will keep thinking of others..
    This is something I’ve thought about many times over the years. So many people, living, dead & otherwise, I’d like to talk with. Mostly one on one, again I’m not a party person.
    Nifty question. Thanks.

Comments are closed.