Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dinner Party Series: Fabulous Femmes Film Fest

I love to give parties! Not the lampshade-on-the-head type, or the small-talk cocktail type, or the no-shirt-too-big-to-stuff type. Other people give those types of parties. Not I.

I love to give dinner parties! Mine are invariably the kind in which everyone exercises the boarding house reach past and over everyone else. At my parties, everyone talks louder than the next person, and children should always be seen and heard! 

Early last year, a little after the Academy Award presentations, I came up with the idea of an in-home “dinner” party that would feature finger food and a couple of top-rated films. And so the First Annual Fabulous Femmes Film Fest was born. I forget what was on the menu, but Crantinis certainly played a role, as did The King’s Speech and Black Swan. Ron snapped the photo below as I set last years buffet table before my guests arrived and he departed. Ron understands that this event is intended exclusively for Fabulous Femmes. As cute as he is, he doesnt qualify.

Setting up: The First Annual Fabulous Femmes Film Fest

Add your own special touches! Be outrageous!

The FFFF was so much fun that the Second Annual Fabulous Femmes Film Fest took place this past week. That event was so much fun that I had to take a nap when it was over. I hope the FFFF will become a tradition at my house - and yours! - for many more years, so I’d like to tell you a little something about this year’s table and the simple buffet that worked so well.

But before I do ... Hey! You men over there! Listen up! Raus! Scram! Vamoose! Today’s blog readership is strictly limited to Fabulous Femmes. Given that every woman is fabulous, every woman in my reading audience is included. Our secrets are ours to keep: We don’t want any men snooping!

This year, I took it easy. I prepared the main course - two make-ahead stews - and everyone else brought the rest. In addition to appetizers and my stews, we had mixed salad greens tossed with sweet onions and thin slivers of colored bell peppers, artisan breads, a beautiful fruit plate, a selection of cookies, and a surprise birthday cake with candles for a Fabulous Femme celebrating her mmmfff mmmfff (whoops!) birthday. There was wine and Prosecco (which has fizzy bubbles that tickle your nose). 

We are not talking this:

We are talking fun. No flames (except those under the chafing dishes). No competition (we’re all fabulous, remember?). No knife-sharpening. And definitely, no men (in the kitchen or anywhere else).

We watched movies, of course: Simultaneous screenings of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on the big screen in the living room and The Artist on the mid-sized screen in the bedroom. And yes, Dollinks, there was popcorn - hot, buttered, messy - just the way we Fabulous Femmes like it. 

In the darkened bedroom, five Fabulous Femmes cuddled on the bed and on chairs with warm blankies; in the living room, six Fabulous Femmes squeezed together on the sofas. A good time was definitely had by all. 

Heres how the buffet looked and heres why it matters to you!

The Beef and Chicken Stews stayed hot in chafing dishes

Space-saving vertical chafing dishes are 
also perfect for soup and chili

Be prepared and be organized: Napkins wrap cutlery

Stew bowls, salad plates, small dessert plates

Why should you care? Women need other women. Just as men bond over sports, women bond over hours of conversation - weeping, laughing, kvetching, gossiping. About what? About men, of course. Women strive to understand men the way Jane Goodall strove to understand chimps. Goodall succeeded; most of us have not. We Fabulous Femmes talked about men while munching Halloween candies. We cried about men while licking popcorn butter from our fingers. We laughed about men over bowls of stew, unsure whether it was the stew or our long friendships that warmed us on this cold, wet November day.

Treasure your women friends. They are all Fabulous Femmes, and so are you. Hold your own version of a Fabulous Femmes Film Fest and see what fun and mischief you can have. Theres some work involved - invitations to be sent, food to be made, dishes to be washed - but make it easy on yourself and ask others to share the load. It doesnt matter if the dishes don't match and you don’t live in style. What matters are the smiles on your friends faces as they loosen up (ah, yes ... last year’s Crantinis) and open up. 

Breaking bread with women friends transcends food

Was it the stew that warmed us, or our friendship?

Coming up over the next three days, I’ll blog my Fuss-Free Beef Stew, my Creamy Chicken Stew, and yes ... my lethal Crantinis. Why do you think I needed a nap? 

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