The other day on my way to work, Eve and I were listening to the BBC Newshour, which is my favorite news show (mostly because of Robin Lustig and Claire Bolderson, who are quintessential British reporters). In a story about the News Corp. hacking scandal, there was a mention of "kitchen suppers." Someone high up in the News Corp. organization was having kitchen suppers with someone high up in the British Government...was it even the prime minister? The phrase implied meals with an intimacy and casualness that resonated with me, even as it showed the inappropriateness between the perpetrators.
I decided I liked the term kitchen suppers very much and felt it was exactly the right name for the kind of cooking and entertaining I like to do. But first, I thought, it would be good to research it a bit. Turns out it's a loaded term, referring originally to the meals that servants would eat. Upper classes had dinner parties, served by servants who had kitchen suppers. The latest scandal is that politicians are trying to "connect with the masses" while having so-called kitchen suppers, apparently with Fleet Sheet journalists.
Well, perhaps I was a servant in a past life, but kitchen suppers are what I like to have. I also found a blog about them, which I thought mentioned the word "titwhizz," which I thought was hysterical and funny. Turns out they really said "tizzwhizz," which is not as funny, but both words would be appropriate to use, discuss, and dissect at one of my kitchen suppers.
This past week, I actually hosted two kitchen suppers in my kitchen. Both were informal--one course with some snacks put out beforehand and desserts most excellently made at the last minute by Eve. The key is always being ready with things cleaned up about the house and the yard, which I am improving on radically these days, thanks to a bit of help. When things are generally cleaned up it's a lot easier to say "come on over Monday night for a kitchen supper!" And then go to my blog (which I myself refer back to often!) for an easy recipe that tastes yum but doesn't take all day because, after all, I work all day!
Best thing is it takes the stress and pressure out of entertaining, I think. I'm not going to show you pictures of a perfect place setting or a fabulous-looking plate of food. It was self-serve and we were too busy chatting and cooking to take the time to take pictures, which in itself is a form of relaxation--being in the moment, not judging, just enjoying.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com