12 Things You Really Don’t Want to Hear at a Dinner Party

1. “I could have sworn I had 10 fingers this morning. ‘Sausage Surprise’ anyone?” 

Oh drat. I’m all full-up from the Bloody Mary soup.

2. “You need to bite off the wichetty grub’s head first. Then you just suck out its insides”.

When you say “need” – is participation mandatory? 

3. “I might have mistaken washing powder for sugar. You may wish to give the trifle a miss”.

I think I’ll brave it. I’ve been looking for brilliant cleaning and long-lasting freshness for some time.

4. “Of course it’s vegetarian. Chicken is vegetarian, right?”

Don’t be an idiot. Fish however is fine.

5. “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I appear to have misplaced my pet caterpillar Dilbert. Who’s for side-salad?”

That’s terrible. What kind of name is Dilbert? 

6. “You’ll be fine, so long as you eat around the highly poisonous parts of your long-spine porcupinefish”. I’m experiencing shooting pains down both sides and have just gone blind in one eye. Is that a bad sign?

7. “Is this how they cook food where you’re from?”

I spat in your starter.

8. “I’m a fruitarian. I only eat what naturally falls from the tree. Steak and marshmallows grow on trees, right? ”

Do me a favour – pass me your steak and let me beat you with it.

9. “I hope you don’t mind, but I couldn’t find a babysitter – so I brought along Candice, Chardonnay, Tia-Maria, Rocky and Tyson”.

Curious names. Are you familiar with the term ‘child abuse’?

10. “Is this triple chocolate caramel fudge cheesecake non-dairy and non-fat?”

Oh absolutely. Haven’t you heard? All food eaten on a Thursday is fat and dairy-free.

11. “Party games? I know LOTS of party games! Let’s start by throwing our keys into a bowl…”

Let’s start by showing you the door.

12. “Just updating Facebook. Does nauseating have one ‘S’ or two?”

Allow me to demonstrate by a show of fingers.

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I Just Found a Chicken Bone in My Cheesecake… Is that Bad?

Having founded his own internet solutions company, run the New York marathon and purchased his first sports car, my brother Oliver decided recently that 2012 would be the year he finally learnt to boil an egg. Cooking has never been a priority to him, with culinary talents at the age of thirty-something on par with my neighbour’s cat.

So to address this glaring oversight, Oli set himself a challenge to cook a different meal every day for thirty days, in the hope he would magically metamorphose into a slim, follicly-challenged Jamie Oliver. Once a week, he held a ‘Come Dine with Me’ style dinner party where each guest rated his cooking and general hosting skills.

I was fortunate enough to be invited along with my mother and youngest brother Mike for Sunday lunch at the end of this process, once Oli had mastered the basics.

Oli's attempt at a pancake didn't exactly fill me with confidence

There was still a moderate risk of food poisoning, but having taken advantage our mother’s cooking for over thirty years, we were all in agreement that it was about time Oli returned the favour. I should have noticed the warning signs though:

1. The roast chicken was the size of an albatross and had only been cooking for an hour and twenty-five minutes.

2. The carrots made a bid for freedom by jumping off the kitchen worktop.

3. Oli referred to his colander as coriander.

But the food was surprisingly yummy. Had it not been for the fact the chef needed to nuke the undercooked albatross in the microwave three times after it first came out of the oven, we may have eaten within an hour and a half of schedule.

Dessert was also delightful – a fabulous boozy cheesecake, laced with glacé cherries. The biscuity base was quite crumbly though, due to Oli neglecting to purchase butter at the supermarket. Praying alone was insufficient to bind the biscuit crumbs together. Mike however loved it. I think… 

Oli took the liberty of documenting the event for prosperity. See if you can notice the subliminal jessseeker plug. It’s really quite subtle:

I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the camera adds ten pounds – and there were at least six cameras on me at the time.