June 9 2012

Faking it

Roast king scallops followed by a platter of langoustines, Goan curry and double tiramisu. “Oooh, someone’s been busy!” croon your satiated guests as you bask in the limelight of their awe-stricken compliments. “Yeah, you’ve been busy alright”, whispers the devil at your table. “You’ve just discovered why mum goes to Iceland”.

Okay, so it takes an arch bluffer to brazen it out with a selection of ‘goodies’ from Iceland. So some choose M&S, others head straight for Waitrose, many more put in an order at their local deli. But to varying degrees, we all do it. Habitual dinner party fakers subtly flaunt – or should that be flirt with? – their sins: “it would have been easier to buy the Mediterranean lamb all ready to go, but there’s something so earthy and authentic about spending eight hours preparing a dish like this”. Meanwhile, the virtual cooking virgins panic so much about ‘being found out’ that they vehemently deny that even the olives came ready-stuffed and invent over-complicated techniques for a bread and butter pudding that still holds the shape of the microwavable dish in which it came – which will, by the way, have been burnt, buried or stashed in the attic by now, just in case an inspector calls. But check the contents of the ubiquitous glass/cardboard/plastic recycling box by the door; if it’s strangely empty, you know your meal came from a glass/cardboard/plastic container that’s now languishing in a stranger’s bin three miles away.

Faking it: it’s the guilty pleasure that drives those in pole position on the dinner party circuit.

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