It took long time to persuade myself to charge my friends $50 for dinner next weekend. After all, if someone invited me to their place but told me that I’d have to pay that much, I would really have to be convinced that it was going to be worth it.
Although the $50 is only to cover the cost of ingredients, it’s still a lot of money and my guests will undoubtedly have high expectations. It’ll be different than all the other meals I’ve cooked (which I paid for) where good food was a bonus, but nothing was lost if things went awry. Perhaps it’s the loss of this safety net that makes me a bit nervous. Thankfully, I’ll still be cooking for friends who are much more understanding and appreciative than most restaurant customers.
On the bright side, this will be an opportunity to improve my standards. There have been a few times in the past when I’ve served dishes that I knew weren’t quite up to par. If this happens next week, I think I’ll dump it into a tupperware box. Quality’s more important than quantity, especially when there are already eight other courses being served.
One of the consequences I worry about is that anyone I invite over for dinner from now on will feel obliged to pay, even if it’s clear that they don’t have to. As a result, everyone would feel guilty (the guest for not paying, and me for making the guest feel guilty in the first place). I guess all I can say is that I only ask friends to pay for the cost of ingredients for very expensive meals. But admittedly, that sounds as if I’m making the rules up as I go along. So I hope I haven’t opened a Pandora’s Box here.
In any case, you may be curious to see what I’ll be serving at my dinner, so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth paying for. Here’s the menu for next Sunday’s dinner with the source (or inspiration) for the recipe in parentheses:
- Gruyère Gougères (The French Laundry)
- Lobster Bisque and Butter Poached Lobster Salad (The French Laundry)
- Crab and Avocado Ravioli (L’Astrance)
- Poached Foie Gras au Torchon with Pickled Cherries (The French Laundry)
- Pan-fried Sea Bass with Lemongrass Foam and Baby Leeks (Joël Robuchon at The Mansion)
- Braised Beef Short Ribs with Root Vegetables and Sautéed Bone Marrow (The French Laundry)
- Pineapple and Coconut Sorbets
- Apple Frangipane with Ginger Ice Cream (Dalloyau)
- White Chocolate and Rice Milk Flan with White Chocolate-Pistachio Emulsion (Dominique and Cindy Duby)
- A selection of Illy Coffee, Mariage Frères Teas, and Dark Hot Chocolate
-Chocolate Sparkle Cookies (Thomas Haas)
- A selection of wine, juices, and water