Progressive dinners are a great idea. If you haven’t done it, you should. Basically you have a multi-course meal, and each course is at a different person’s house. Start out at the appetizer house, then head to the main course’s apartment, then finish up on the dessert porch. . . you can fit in as many homes and courses as you and your friends can stomach. We did this a few times back in our Boston days, and it was always a good time.
By far the best way to do a progressive dinner is with neighbors, to minimize transit in between courses. Even better if all your neighbors are from different parts of the globe. . . The other night we had a little Goodenough College progressive dinner, and you can imagine the multicultural mayhem that ensued.
First course was with our dearest Finns, Juhana & Virpi. And they were indeed up to the task. Cool Finnish lounge music (bossa nova versions of punk classics) playing in the background while we feasted on rye toasts topped with smoked salmon and. . . get ready. . . smoked reindeer. It was delicious! I think it’s called poro in Finnish. (And those Finns really roll their r’s, so it sounded like a Mexican delicacy to my Texan ears.)
Second course was chez us, but fortunately we had the help of Beth and Sam, visiting from Chicago. Beth actually ran her own catering service briefly, so we put together a nice little pasta dish (ricotta, lemon, spinach), and even had some spiffy presentation. I imagine we weren’t holding up our end of the cultural representation, but I mean what red-blooded American doesn’t eat pasta at least once a week?
Third course we headed down to Carl and Dr. Sarah’s flat. Turns out Carl specializes in a native New Zealand dessert called pavlova. It’s kind of a custard-meets-meringue, and it’s sweet and delicious, especially when served with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream. A nip of port doesn’t hurt, too. . . Appropriately, the Kiwis also were in charge of games. Though we’d been promised a rousing round of Pass the Parcel, we instead had a Borough Market Truffle Tasting. Oh man. Each of us would get a bite of an insanely good truffle, and then we had to tick off which flavor it was from a list of about 15. I don’t know how your sense of taste is, but we all pretty much sucked. The best score was 5 out of 8. I was pleased to learn that my brilliant and studious wife, however, has essentially no knack for this: she got only two of them right.
We finished the night by proving that you can, in fact, play Celebrity with people from all over the world. Even the one-word round. Now that’s what Goodenough is all about.