I have a habit of doing the same things when I have friends over for snacks and drinks. I will purchase cheese, crackers, maybe make bread (rarely), chop vegetables, and purchase a dessert. I am the laziest hostess.
Last night we had a few friends over for “snacks and drinks”. But this time when I sent the invite, I advised them to save room because I was hoping to up the quality of food. I planned to make Swedish Meatballs, maybe have a hot dip, smoked salmon, and a shrimp ring for a change. Better food would be the order of the day, and I would be required to dedicate time in purchasing items, prepping them, and serving them.
Enter Gluten-Free Swedish Meatballs. It took two trips to the store, (my failure to read the recipe fully, and to make a complete list when I did my first shopping trip) almost 2 hours to prepare (the recipe said 1.5 hours, but I am slow) and at the end of it I had very small meatballs floating in separated greasy sauce.
At the mid-way mark I tried a meatball and thought they were ok. My husband tried them and thought….”Meh….” At around this same time, I tried the sauce. As I swept my spoon through the bouillion and pan drippings, I raised the spoonful to my mouth, and in it went. I raised my eyebrows and thought, “Mmm…good.” This was prior to adding the cream.
Once I added the whipping cream, I tried the sauce again and it tasted gritty and tasteless. I moved the contents over to my crock pot as my guests weren’t expected to arrive till around 7 PM; and made one last futile attempt to boost the flavour by adding more beef bouillion. An hour later, the sauce/gravy (whatever you want to call it) had separated and you could see grease floating on top. I was horrified.
I texted a friend and told her my Swedish Meatballs had failed. Once she arrived, I showed them to her. One of my other friends tried one and thought they weren’t bad. I scrunched my face up like, “Really?”
I placed a small bowl in the middle of the counter (just the meatballs, no sauce. I thought it looked disgusting) and one of my male friends tried them and said, “They’re good.”
Again, with me, in disbelief uttering, “Really?”
Once the bowl was empty, (I had placed less than 10 meatballs out) he asked, “Are there any more?”
I went to my crock-pot and scooped a bunch out and placed a larger Swedish Meatball plate in the middle of the counter. By the end of the night, most of the meatballs were gone.
I honestly don’t know what to make of this. I have the most supportive network of friends. Most of them have been with me through my father’s illness, passing, my brother’s accident and later, when he left too. Without the friends that I see every weekend, the ones that I don’t see, the ones that I am only connected to on Facebook, and the ones that I no longer see but still call them friends; I would not have made it through so many obstacles.
Part of the reason why I tried so hard last night is that I feel at times I take my friends for granted. I consider many of them my extended family. The small group that I saw last night, I wanted to do more, to show them that they matter to me. So, I did make a warm spinach and ricotta cheese dip, we had the shrimp ring, we purchased smoked salmon (but at some point my husband made an “Executive Decision” and decided not to serve it as our counter was overflowing with food and people were full), I made fresh bread, and warmed tortilla chips.
I lost a friend of mine in the early part of this year. She went in for surgery and was to come back out. But she never did. When I think of her, I have so many memories. The wind chimes that hang by the window of my backdoor she purchased for me in PEI; she introduced me to Starbucks and Mekong (a Vietnamese restaurant); when my brother had his accident her and her husband brought over food to my house, and we had a fun-filled evening. Today, the only time I get to see her is when she stands proudly in the role of Matron of Honour beside me on my wedding day – in a picture frame over my fireplace.
I wish that I did more for her as a friend.
Swedish Meatball success or failure? I don’t know. They said they liked them; but I think my friends were just being nice. But it doesn’t matter. Even if I tried and failed at Swedish Meatballs, I did my best. We had other food to eat, we chatted, joked, and I had a wonderful night with my extended family of friends.
Sorry people, no final picture of them cooked. My friends arrived and I forgot to take another photo.