too many cooks in the kitchen

Yes it has become an expression and perhaps lost some of its meaning but Saturday night at our first Cooking through the Decades dinner with friends there truly were too many cooks in the kitchen, as evidenced by the vast and varied menu.

As I mentioned last post my friends and I, who gather weekly to share a meal, decided to add some flair to the get-togethers by creating a themed menu around periods in history. Though I hope we can skip out of order later and do a Colonial meal, as well as a Southern Civil War Era one, we began with the first decade of the 1900s. The menu choices were to be inspired by our personal heritages since that period in US history was the age of immigration and we chose Ellis Island as our theme.

So we had German, Irish, Italian, Jewish and Polish all represented in various mixes among us and here is the menu we served; once you read it you will see what I mean about the too many cooks because there was much too much food and way too many carbs, but perhaps that is my 21st Century sensibilities talking.

Drinks: German Beer, Italian Wine

Appetizers: Polish Kielbassa & German Knockwurst served with German Pretzels in a honey mustard dipping sauce. Italian Pizza Rustica, Irish Dubliner Cheese with crackers, Italian Olives

First Course: Jewish Matzoh Ball Soup

Main Course: Irish Shepards Pie, Tossed Green Salad w/ Italian Vinaigrette

Desserts: Jewish Chocolate & Raspberry-filled Rugalah, German Almond Pastry Puffs, Apple Kugel, and Raspberry Tart, and 2 boxes of assorted purchased Italian bakery cookies.

That doesn’t include the hot wings and fried chicken cutlets we also served to the children because they turned their noses up at our fare. So you can imagine the kitchen, every square inch covered in food. If you were one of the 3 people who actually logged in to our live streaming web broadcast you don’t have to imagine!

Anyway, we are going to do this again in spite of the “are you insane?” look I got from my husband last week when he heard it was a “themed dinner”. It will probably be in 2 weeks we’ll do the second decade of the 19th century, the theme being World War I. This time I am hoping we plan a tighter, more contained and less random menu. I have some of my cookbooks and old magazines out looking for popular drinks of the period and researching what foods were rationed because of the war. A book I discovered on my shelves, Vintage Cocktails: Authentic Recipes and Illustrations from 1920-1960,says that in 1914 “As World War I rages, the Martini is America’s number-one cocktail, known throughout the world as the symbol of all things civilized.”

So there you go. Perhaps I’ll pack an overnight bag for this one since we might be drinking martinis. You may want to tune in to the live streaming broadcast.