The Dinner Party: Trial #2

‘We want it to be real,’ they said. ‘Real people in real situations.’

Which is how I came to be being photographed in my kitchen at 9.30am with a raging hangover, trying to look relaxed and happy beside a table full of greasy plates, meat bones, our unfeasibly large ‘guest’ wine glasses with the dregs of a very fine Rioja, some oozing Chaource, and a nearly empty bottle of genuine Russian vodka.

If you are reading this in the future (well, obviously you are, but I mean next week when they’ve set up the Finish Quantumatic microsite that you might have clicked through from but which as yet doesn’t exist), then just in case you were in any doubt, the pic next to it is a real person, with a real hangover and a real pile of washing up following a very real and very enjoyable dinner party with real friends.

Luckily doing things with a hangover is one of the few skills you perfect on your journey towards Midlife. As a student if I woke up with a hangover, I just stayed in bed and skipped lectures (mind you I wasn’t paying 9k a year for them then). Now I can force myself out of bed to go to work, take children to football training, or even stand in front of cameras. Perhaps I should add it to my CV? Or is it just that I can afford better painkillers and stronger coffee these days?

Anyway, shoot over, the washing up still had to be done. ‘But it’s easy, you just stick it in the dishwasher.’ Yes, but it doesn’t walk into the dishwasher by itself. I have to physically do it. And no, I can’t get anyone else in my household to do it as they’ll stack it inefficiently and I’ll only have to come along and rearrange everything.

The good people at Finish Quantumatic want this to be one of the trials I put their ‘revolutionary new detergent dispenser system’ through so I need to give it the works: greasy oven trays in which I roasted some rather nice veal chops Saltimboca (Angela Hartnett recipe), a mixing bowl coated with rhubarb and cardamom fool (Riverford recipe), dried on greasy plates, crusty cheese knives, coffee stained espresso cups, a range of different sized glasses (because in Midlife it is important to have specific glasses for specific drinks, or at least consider it a worthwhile life goal)… lots of stuff you’d rather not see.

VERDICT Trial #2

Frying pan cleaner that I’ve ever seen it (there was year’s worth of cooking on that), more sparkling glasswear, and crust-less cheese knives. Slight drawback in that I have several loads worth and you have to wait for the dispenser to cool down between washes.

RECIPES (links open in new window)

Angela Hartnett’s Cucina

Riverford Rhubarb and Cardamom Fool

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About JCT

JCT was Deputy Editor of weekly London arts/listings magazine Time Out but left to freelance in 2007 – just before the recession. She writes for a number of publications and has edited 'London Calling: high culture and low life in the capital since 1968' (Time Out/Ebury 2008) and 'The World's Greatest Cities' (Time Out/Ebury 2009). She is the co-author of The Midlife Manual (Short Books, 2010).
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