The Daily Telegraph
When a dinner party turns into a test of tact
SIR – Memories of my first dinner party came flooding back while reading William Sitwell’s piece (Features, September 9).
I was living in Kenya, newly married, and had never cooked, but I boldly invited my husband’s commanding officer and his wife. The local guinea fowl did not fit into my Baby Belling stove, so a friend’s cook prepared them and delivered them by bicycle. My pudding was some sort of mushy grape pie on a sponge base, presented on a paper lace doily on a silver salver.
All was going swimmingly until I realised that the doily had melded with the soggy sponge – and the guests, manfully and without comment, were chomping their way through it.
SIR – I would take issue with one of William Sitwell’s dinner party tips: cancelling isn’t always an easy option, even with plenty of notice.
Some years ago, an American couple invited us to dinner about a month ahead of the date. During the week before, we had a close family bereavement. I phoned and said we’d be unable to come on Saturday.
The response: “You’ve got to. I’ve laid the table!” It was only Tuesday. Marlene Kemp