Saturday, 19 December 2009

"I'm in with the in crowd, I go where the in crowd go"....

The (what has become) annual Rita-fest – a mega-relaxed pre-Christmas eating, chatting and catching-up date – occurred the other night, squeezed into everyone’s hectic social calendar by the skin of its teeth!

This date, more and more, has come to epitomize, to me (and I’m pretty sure, to the others present too) a small snatch of ‘time out’ from the frenzied hithering and thithering that today’s pre-Christmas weeks seem to demand.

Thanks to my Nellie and ever-generous son-in-law Mr Nellie, we hold this annual event at their magnificent house, which contains the state-of-the-art kitchen facilities required for some of the past meals we have created on this night. The Nellie family always spend a week away at their shack prior to Christmas, so it falls to poor Rita to housesit, and find a few friends to share this occasion with!

This year, we weren’t so well organized, and there was more of a fast-food focus with the food, but we still managed to chow down extremely well

on a pre-ordered (and collected en route) sushi platter from Mr Ding at the Japanese place in Liverpool St, $82 worth of fresh prawns from Mures, flathead BBQ’ed individually in foil parcels, kebabs and salad, then a gorgeous fruit tart for afters, along with Jill’s magnificent secret-recipe chocolate, fig and cream cake which we all want the recipe for!

The best thing about this meal is the emphasis on food, friendship and fun, and the utter lack of pretension involved. If invited, you can come along secure in the knowledge that you can dress as you like and that absolutely no one is going to judge you on your appearance. You can be as politically incorrect as you want – and in this day and age, you can’t presume that people know you well enough to know you’re joking if you make any kind of remark which could be perceived by someone present as discriminatory. In those circumstances, it’s hard to be truly ‘you’.

Not for one moment should you assume either, that politically incorrect jokes or conversation occurred at all, because that definitely didn’t happen. All present were/are intelligent, empathetic members of the community, who all work in jobs which involve a tremendous amount of intensive counselling and advising around the huge social issues and problems we, as a society, currently have. They all deal daily with the after-effects of accidents of birth and situation, and to them, this aspect of life is no laughing matter. However, we are all allowed to relax and have fun with friends, and that’s what this meal is about.

This year’s event was tinged with sadness as we all acknowledged the absence of our wonderful friend Monica, who has traditionally provided us with the pavlova component of our annual meal. Monica has unstintlingly participated in these meals, slaving over the 2 pavlovas she always made in the traditional way of the older country cooks in years gone by. I did pay tribute to her here on this blog about a month ago when she died, but I’m sure we all felt the distinct absence of Mon on Tuesday night. If I’d been braver, I would have insisted we all raise our glasses to Mon, but I knew with certainty that her death is still way too raw to do this as yet.

But – writing is different, so, Mon - here’s cheers to you. I hope wherever you are, you’re resting easier now, and not plagued by pain.

Posted on by Rita


Nuf Sed said...

Sounds lovely Rita.
Better than most functions you would have at a restaurant.

Anon2 said...

Lovely comments Rita
For me, though I felt more subdued than on previous such occasions it was a privilege to be surrounded by such fun, sensitive people in such a beautiful environment.
The food was terrific also despite the absence of the usual Monica Pav.
Looking forward to next year when may take on the daunting task of attempting a pav myself.
Best Wishes for the Season

Anonymous said...

Note to Rita:
'Recent Comments' box RH side of your page is empty! :(

Nuf Sed said...

Can everyone please read this???

Anonymous said...

Why would you be taking a booking for 40 without taking a deposit? Surely that should be classed as a function? Doesn't have to have a function menu or have dedicated waitstaff/events staff/table setting etc, but you would definitely want a deposit. I know I would be asking for a deposit for anything over 20. Obviously refundable if cancellation within 48 (or even 24 depending on the place) hours but nonetheless a deposit. Don't feel sorry for him at all!

Christina said...

I so do feel sorry for this gentleman.
As it stands today on the Tassie dining scene, this is how it works. Your word is your honour.
Sadly that will now become a thing of the past.
I totally understand a deposit being requested and believe that soon this will become the norm for us.
Of course we will resist at first, but this is our future, and after reading todays story, it is totaly understandable.
This will adversely affect me as I have managed to get through 42 years and can proudly say I have never had a credit card. Looks like that will change.
Some people have no consideration for others, I find this a deplorable situation.

Anonymous said...

Word... Meh. It's a business. It should be run like a business. If you take numbers that big without asking for a deposit, you are just asking for trouble. Cancelling is becoming more commonplace so maybe as a businessman/woman a process should be put in place that will allow a restaurant/cafe to have a cancellation without having a huge follow on effect. Especially with a large booking like that. Most better restaurants (i.e hatted restaurants) and businesses with another market as its focus places (i.e large hotels w/ restaurants and establishments that have a restaurant attached e.g art galleries, conference centres, museums) do this.

Mary Estcourt said...

Hi Rita, yesterday's gathering and the food served sounded wonderful. You were missed today at Randall's Bay...Just wishing you a Merry continuation of the Christmas season. Hope to catch up with you once more in the New Year.
On the other topic the opposite occurred when a staff went to confirm their long-booked function only to be told there was no such booking and the restaurant was fully booked on that day ... phone a friend!!