Other Duties As Assigned

Other Duties as Assigned - Jackietara blogOther Duties as Assigned - Jackietara blogOther Duties as Assigned - Jackietara blogOther Duties as Assigned - Jackietara blog

Last month a friend asked me to help host her father’s birthday party to free up some time for her family to enjoy the festivities and forget about the responsibilities.  I am a natural host: I love greeting smiling faces eager to enjoy a carefree evening, pouring glasses of bubbly, and dashing to the kitchen to refill quickly disappearing dishes, so this was the perfect job for me.  It also helped that Teddy was asked to document the evening, so I would have an event partner-in-crime.

The family was expecting about 40 people, had prepared several entrees and desserts, and was anticipating a few additional dishes with the arrival of a few guests.  Bottles of wine were stocked and ready for serving in the cellar, plates and utensils were nicely laid on the table, hot dishes were coming out of the oven, and guests began to steadily stream through the door when I realized that my previous definition of “hosting” was a romanticized version and was leaving out several other duties.

Once the majority of guests had been received, drinks were poured, and food was eaten, it was time for a long bout in the kitchen with dishes.  I was wearing relatively comfortable shoes, but quickly aching feet from standing in one place had me longing for my leopard Steve Madden flats!  I was running up and down stairs to fetch new bottles of wine and dashing [as I had anticipated] to and from the kitchen to clear dinner and set out hot-from-the-oven desserts.

Other Duties as Assigned - Jackietara blogOther Duties as Assigned - Jackietara blog

Photography by Teddy Wolff

Although hosting is incredibly rewarding, this experience reminded me of all the work that is and could be involved.  With the holiday season and it’s many occasions around the corner, here are some tips for easing your stress and labor while assisting friends or hosting your own fête:

Wear comfortable shoes.  In addition to washing dishes, you most likely will be running back and forth from the kitchen with hot dishes or a fresh bottle of wine to serve!

Wear an apron.  Although your hand-me-down red plastic apron might not be the trendiest look during a party, it will save you the headache of getting stains out of your lovely holiday dress down the road.  There are also some super cute cloth aprons out there, like this macaron apron from Paper Source.

Know your schedule.  If you’ve been asked to help friends and/or family with their upcoming party, make sure you know the plan in advance!  How long will the party last?  How many guests will they have throughout the night?  Will there be entertainment?  Knowing these details will put you at ease and free you up for any other duties as assigned.

Have fun.  Hosting can be stressful, so throw on some cheerful music to keep yourself entertained in the kitchen, pour yourself a delicious beverage, and don’t hesitate to ask your guests for a helping hand!


A Snail Tale

If you didn’t know already, my three year anniversary with Mr. Teddy Wolff was this month [June 19 to be exact].  To celebrate three fantastic years as a duo, we planned a day of delicious culinary experiences.

The first was an unassuming authentic lunch at A&J in Annandale, VA.  If you ever want to have an inexpensive, traditional, and gratifying meal, go here.  A&J’s Chinese tapas are the epitome of comfort food and warm your soul with every bite.  I recommend the scallion pancake, pork dumplings, and spicy beef noodle soup [all menu choices were perfectly chosen and ordered by Teddy].  The soup is to die for and the noodles are homemade!

That night, Teddy and I opened a bottle of Lovingston Winery Pinotage [that I had been saving for a special occasion] and got going on our second delectable meal of the day, escargot. Both of my parents have made escargot several times for the family throughout my life and it has always been one of my favorite treats.  How can you go wrong with butter, garlic, shallots, and more butter?  The snails are pretty good too…