Sunday, 16 May 2010

A Feminist's First Dinner Party

In a slight twist on a blog which to be fair is quite hard to pin down - thematically at least - for I am not solely interested in one topic, I have decided to post a few pictures of my flat warming dinner from Friday night.

There are several reasons for this exciting turn of events. The most important is this - regular readers (whoever the hell they might be) may have noticed I've been somewhat given to introspection of late. I blame this on the fact that I am getting older, and everyone knows that a direct consequence of getting older is that you become wiser and more philosophical. That's just a fact. And just in case the irony hasn't translated thus far, it is also a fact that with age comes the ability to laugh at one's self. Admittedly I'm still working on this one. But honesty is also another wonderful grown up quality.

Anyway I'm given to anxiety with regards to this blogging lark. Like all good things in life I thoroughly enjoy it when I'm on a roll. When the writing flows its like good wine, just keep pouring the bottle I say. But when your not writing it can feel like creatively speaking, at least, you are on the wagon. Translation being, 'bad times.' But the other night I was talking this through with a fellow feminist friend and I came to the unfortunate conclusion, that one of the reasons why feminism gets a bad rep is because it takes itself too seriously. Now I'm not one to extol the virtues of a happy-go-lucky existence and certainly there is a lot about equality issues which simply just isn't funny, but I am willing to concede that we could all stand to take ourselves a little less seriously. Sometimes.

One of the wonderful things about this blogging business is the amount of time and effort my fellow bloggers invest in their blogs. They really have managed to create spaces where they can explore ideas, food, fashion, frivolity in all its wonderousness. The visual blogs particularly astound me and this has made me acutely aware that I don't illustrate my points often enough. The main reason for this is the old chestnut rearing its ugly head that 'others do these things better'.

But If I continue with that attitude I'll simply never get anything done, no matter how rubbish the outcome. And like I've said before its a process. This is all a process. So in a bid to explore my creativity further I give you a feminist's first dinner party.

Turns out that despite Betty Friedan's best intentions, this feminist at least wanted to be a good hostess because I spent the best part of last week devising, concocting and creating a dinner party befitting of my fabulous friends. I blame Nigella Lawson.

These are the results:

Here's the dining table -

Image by Dora Petherbridge

And here's a close-up

Image by Dora Petherbridge

And now to the important bit - the food. Deciding that I didn't want to make things easy on myself I went with a Thai/Asian theme. Here for starters we're having Japanese carrot salad (which I would like to dedicate a blog to because it was so easy and delicious), tempura prawns (these were a real baptism of fire and I have the oil-splatter burns to prove it!) and chicken satay skewers with peanut dipping sauce.

Image by Alice Turner

And so to the main - Thai Red Prawn Curry with coconut rice. My friend Alice, who is an excellent photographer, photographed the food. But having consumed a jolly amount of red wine, she forgot half-way through the evening that this was her designated job for the night, and so this image is of her dinner half-eaten. Still, that's realism. And in some ways that's feminism.

Image by Alice Turner

I suppose I've blogged about this because I think the little things, the minor triumphs, the well-executed meals, the hilarious jokes over wine, the putting together of a lovely dinner table, which, although not earth-shattering in and of themselves, are still important. Yes there's doom and gloom around at the moment, but not enough to forget that there are good things to be done. Some of these things are worthier than others, but that's just life.

With this in mind I'm now making a concerted effort to emphasise the lighter side of life too. Indeed it will be a feminist's take on frivolity.

To that end I leave you with a foodie related quote from the sharp-witted (and tongued) Lionel Shriver;

'I'm not a subtle person, and I cook the way I write. In the kitchen or at a keyboard, I push flavour towards an absolute limit. Food, like fiction, should leave an after-burn. As a good novel should make you cry, so a good main dish should make your eyes water and your nose run.

In neither books nor cookery is Shriver nice. I would no more concoct a bland, cautious dish with half a teaspoon of rosemary and a "pinch" of cayenne than I would write a novel about a kind lady who knits and her exciting trip to the post office. Although the hands-on physicality and instant gratification of cooking provide a merciful antidote to a mere-words manuscript of two years, both projects hew to the same directives. They both benefit from the drama of the triangle. They should both lead with a dominant theme. And both food and fiction should knock your socks off.'

From an article which can be found here -


  1. Yes a wonderful time was had by all.
    Compliments to the chef.
    Apologies for tucking in before taking the photo of the main, it was too hard to resist.

    (one of the food photographers)

  2. Well I'm most glad you enjoyed the food! And I love the half-eaten food shot. It just makes it all the more real. xxx

  3. Truly outstanding Feminist's First Dinner Party! The décor as well as food looks brilliant. We also have been finding the best New York venues for our sister’s surprise disco themed birthday bash. If anyone here have suggestions, please share.