Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

Pyramid Scheme Dinner Parties

I just finished reading the latest issue of The Curmudgeon’s Home Companion—a hilarious food-centric newsletter of “delightfully mean-spirited articles” written by Dan Goldberg. If you haven’t yet read The Curmudgeon, check out the In Defense of (Occasional) Drunkenness article. Very funny stuff.

This month’s main article was about Pyramid Scheme Dinner Parties. I think this is a brilliant idea and am officially announcing my wholehearted participation. The deal is that you make a commitment to throw at least one dinner party a month and invite at least three people. The goal is to receive return dinner party invites, with the side benefit of possibly meeting new people that you can rope into the scheme. This idea is hugely appealing to me because I love to cook, I love to eat and I love things that are cyclical.

So, the tricky part is deciding who to invite. In order for this idea to really work, there has to be a good chance that at least three of your invitees will return an invitation. In the article, Dan discusses how to spot people who won’t invite you back (“be wary of Californians, a socially challenged state”) and the merits of inviting people who can’t cook but who possess other, lesser qualities, such as being interesting, or intelligent, or maybe being of the type who will get really drunk and provide spontaneous dancing or dirty-joke telling.

In the end, Dan decides that these people are still worth inviting, but I’m on the fence. Mostly because I know a lot of entertaining people who can also cook, so I have to draw the line somewhere. He says you can’t count relatives either, but every single one of my relatives is a great cook, so I’m ignoring that rule. I may, however, extend the exception rule to people who own extensive wine cellars. But I don’t know any yet, so maybe I’ll have to lower the bar and go with people who can mix a mean cocktail.

8 Responses to “Pyramid Scheme Dinner Parties”

  1. Arthur Che says:

    Hey – been a bit busy of late so I didn’t get to comment on your Vancouver stuff. All caught up now though! A few things:
    1)Wow! Looks like I need to try a bunch of these places… Banana Leaf, Vij’s, Wild Rice. Lots of stuff to add to the list.
    2) Feenie’s stuff looks great. That poutine sure is giving me Montreal flashbacks. Looks like ordering the more casual cafe-type options is a better bet than the pasta and other fancier stuff I had there.
    3) Tojo’s – we had quite a few of the same dishes as you. Seeing this makes me ashamed of how slow a poster I am, considering I had eaten there and gone home before you even went to Vancouver, and I still haven’t posted it yet! The broth for the sablefish was indeed delicious. And your piece of toro looks a little nicer than the one I had. Could be a result of sitting at the bar.
    4) So sad to hear about your disappoinment with Sun Sui Wah! For what it’s worth, every squab I can remember having Chinese-style has been served quartered. Maybe you caught an off batch; I’d hate for those plump juicy squab I remember having to be gone for good. I feel bad now for the bad rec. :(

    Still, it looks like you had a nice trip! Vancouver’s a great food town and getting better all the time.

  2. Ellen says:

    That’s funny. I had made a resolution of sorts to do more planned dinner parties. (I seem to do lots of spontaneous ones but then I end up with the same folks all the times, the ones that don’t plan ahead!) A friend told me he knew someone who threw dinner parties with the proviso that every guest/couple had to bring at least one person unknown to the hostess as a guest, to help expand the circle of friends.

  3. megwoo says:

    Hey Arthur,
    Good to hear from you. I enjoyed reading your latest Vancouver posts—and I thought I ate a lot on my trip!

    Maybe it was just an off day at Sun Sui Wah… but I really did appreciate all the recommendations! I’ve decided I need to go up more often in order to try out all the great restaurants.

  4. megwoo says:

    Hi Ellen,
    That’s a great idea. Maybe I’ll need to incorporate that into my strategy!

  5. Pyramid Scheme Dinner Parties? Sounds great. Actually I think I surrepticiously do this already… :P

    PS. TIP! You’re It! I’m curious to find out what you pork yourself on musically.


  6. megwoo says:

    Uh, I am what you’d call… musically challenged. But for humor’s sake, I will accept your music survey challenge. I just need a few days to get my CDs out of storage and blow the dust off. Stay tuned…

  7. eliz says:

    and, lest we forget, the dinner-party-a-month has the additional benefit of allowing you to build your alcohol/wine collection without actually having to spend money on booze. i can’t remember the last time i had a dinner party and didn’t end up with a bottle or two leftover from what was brought by guests.

  8. megwoo says:

    Ah, you are a better woman than I. We rarely have leftover bottles. In fact, more often then not, my liquor cabinet is raided before the end of the night…

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