New dishes provide a full plate of family dinner options
Editor’s note: As part of the Arts & Lecture Series for the Education Foundation of Upper Dublin School District, Mike and special guest, Philadelphia singersongwriter Dan May, will offer a “Dancing in My Underwear” performance of storytelling and music at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at the new Performing Arts Center at Upper Dublin High School. For ticket information, go to www.udsd. org.
The only thing I know about dishes is that I usually eat everything that’s on one placed in front of me. So it is no surprise that I was unaware that we needed new dishes at our house.
A quick look inside the kitchen cabinets — and the china cabinet in the dining room and the storage cabinet in the garage and the attic and the storage space in the basement — reveals that we seem to have lots of dishes. This is what must have fooled me into thinking that we had all the dishes that we needed.
Alas, this was not the case last weekend. The Blonde Accountant was preparing a big family dinner for 11 people to celebrate my birthday. She likes me, which is a good thing for a marriage, and she wanted to make sure I had a special celebration.
So she laid out this wonderful table in the dining room, complete with beautiful fall colors and centerpieces. She even ironed the table covers and napkins to take out the creases, something I’m pretty sure I would never have thought of doing. I’m not sure I would even notice that table covers and napkins even have creases in them. To me it’s kind of like ironing one’s undershorts. Who cares about creases in table coverings and undershorts? But it was a lot of effort, it was a gorgeous table and it was very much appreciated on my part.
As we were surveying the dining room the night before the big shindig, she suddenly started to have second thoughts that something was missing.
“We need new dishes,” she said.
This, gentlemen, is what I call “Rut Row Territory.” See, my first response, which could be interpreted as insensitive, would have been to say, “No we don’t, we have plenty of nice dishes in every cabinet in the house.”
That would be incorrect. There is actually more information to the equation, information that we men need so as not to come off sounding like we usually do, which is to say, like big knuckleheaded idiots.
Fortunately, I sensed something was afoot, that I did indeed not have all the information I needed to formulate an appropriate response to the “We need new dishes” comment.
So in a most sensitive way, I responded accordingly. “Huh?” I said. Short, sweet and ambiguous enough to stay out of the line of fire for the moment. I was pretty proud that I had crafted that type of response.
As it turns out, the dishes we would normally use for such a fancy schmancy soiree were her grandmother’s dishes. And those heirloom dishes have blue flowers on them. The blue flowers were not going to go with the fallthemed colors of the table covers and centerpieces.
OK, all right, I see . . . it makes perfect sense. That was the message I conveyed on the outside. On the inside, my thinking was that I was pretty sure that I didn’t even realize that the fancy dishes were once her grandmother’s dishes and I’m just as certain that I had absolutely no clue that they had blue flowers on them.
Before I knew it, she was out the door. Now this was a little after 8 p.m. on Saturday night for the 5 p.m. dinner schedule for the following day. But she was on her way so quickly that I could only assume that late on a Saturday night is the optimum time to go shopping for dishes.
Less than a half-hour later, she returned with two big boxes of new dishes. They were what I’d call a plain pattern, but with no colors on them. I’d call them white dishes but apparently there are several colors of white when it comes to dishes and I can’t begin to remember or explain them all to you.
Boxes of new dishes are heavy and I don’t own a forklift, so I enlisted the help of Son of Blonde Accountant and oh, 18 or 19 other husbands from the neighborhood to carry the dishes from the car to the kitchen, where of course, they needed to be washed before they were put on the table. Another thing I didn’t know: That one has to wash dishes that are already clean and spanking new out of the box.
The end result was that all turned out well. The dinner was spectacular, everyone commented on how nice the table looked and . . . nobody made one comment on the new dishes.
“I’m sorry nobody commented on your new dishes,” I said.
“No, no, that’s OK. They go with everything, so the fact that they went unnoticed is a good thing,” said The Blonde Accountant.
Oh. Well, that makes perfect sense.
Outta Leftfield Mike Morsch