20 September 2007

Perfectly Imperfect Rosh Hashanah Dinner

I gave up trying to be perfect a while ago. Despite the now-usual unpolished copper pots, burned pizza, unwashed windows, English cocker spaniel tumbleweed, and years-out-of-commission powder room, among other imperfections, my guests invariably chide me for expending so much energy on being perfect. So I've given up trying to explain that I gave up trying to be perfect.

Rule number one of entertaining is that it's not about being perfect, but about you enjoying your guests and your guests enjoying you. The food and everything else is secondary, no matter how many hours you fussed over the menu. If you are not relaxed, your guests won't be either, and they may even feel guilty for thinking you worked so hard. Being relaxed with your guests goes a long way in making up for so-so cuisine and an unkempt garden. Faults are overlooked. Laughter and great conversation are remembered and savored.

My guests left last night satiated and convinced the dinner was worthy of a magazine spread, but I know I didn't have time this year for my usual homemade challahs and pickled gefilte fish, nor did I wash the windows, polish the silver, get my dogs groomed, or tame the jungle out back. Good thing, as it made for a perfect evening.

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