Thursday, April 02, 2009


A few weeks ago, we, along with a group of friends, decided to host a Regressive Dinner.

It was similar to those Progressive Dinners, wherein the group moves from location to successive location for each course... but this was a Regressive Dinner, so it had its own protocols.

We started in a mansion-like home in an expensive subdivision, the kind of home that carried more than just a whiff of Old Money. Our appetizers, an assortment of amuses-bouches crafted of the most expensive and exotic ingredients, were served to us on delicate platters of bone china as we sat at a table of sleek, polished rosewood under a magnificent crystal chandelier. Gorham sterling silver forks, their patina aglow from decades of polishing, lifted the delicate morsels to our eager lips. Chilled Dom Pérignon brut Champagne in Riedel flutes, its bubbles weaving a lace-like tracery as they ascended, was on hand for liquid refreshment. For the next course...

...we moved on to a house in a pleasant, yet considerably more modest, part of town. Here, we were offered a soup, a pasta e fagioli that provided a pleasantly rustic note. The bowls were straight out of Crate and Barrel - attractive and serviceable - while the stainless steel flatware had a reassuring heft in our hands. Before we knew it, it was time for the salad course...

...consisting of a wedge of iceberg lettuce with Wish-Bone Thousand Island dressing and a dusting of Bac-O’s. This was presented to us on melamine plates in a somewhat cramped but nevertheless attractively furnished apartment. By this time, I was eagerly anticipating the entrée...

...which consisted of a Swanson roast beef TV dinner, served on its individual aluminum tray. Fittingly, we ate on aluminum TV tables in front of a 21" black-and-white set with foil-shrouded rabbit ears. The beverages, an assortment of house-brand colas, were presented in Styrofoam cups; for utensils, we utilized sporks lifted from the local KFC. We stuffed ourselves so much, we could barely find our way out of the double-wide... the parking lot of a local 7-11, where, for dessert, we grabbed a few half-melted Slurpees out of the dumpster. I got cherry!

Send me an e-mail, and I’ll make sure you get an invitation to the next one.

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