February is the Cruelest Month
A number of years ago, I decided in the hubris and chutzpah that goes with being a writer in graduate school that I was (1) sick of earnest young male grad students shoving T.S. Eliot down my throat as the genius of the universe and (2) there was absolutely nothing good about February, a month in which the color brown multiplies in its myriad incarnations here on the Front Range. Bolstered by a quick cash infusion from my student loan check, I decided to throw a dinner party and invite my writer friends. Good food and bombast was the theme. Fuck T.S. Eliot (because February not April is the cruelest month) was the name.
T hat first T.S. Eliot party featured something like five or six courses.I made homemade cappellacci with sweet squash and sage butter sauce, grilled radicchio and endive, and roasted quails my friend Jim Campbell shot in Wisconsin. I put a bunch of tableclothe-covered folding tables together, and a dozen of my friends and I ate and drank and bombasted the night away. In those days, we toasted a variation on the three musketeers’ cry, “Tonight we drink, for tomorrow we write!”
|T.S. Eliot guest Tracy in his smoking jacket|
|Nothing beats Leg of Lamb|
As for the menus, forget the idea of never serving something new to guests. I always experiment. I learned to make bordelaise for the veal roast I made for one party and it has become a favorite sauce, one I break out for special occasions. Other parties have included more homemade pasta, confited duck, chocolate soufflé, valentine themed pizzas and poetry, gravlax, artichoke mousse, and caviar and new potatoes.
|T.S. Eliot guest Gina had the best cocktail attire|
This year, I opened the T.S. Eliot Lounge. No longer buoyant with government loans, I ask friends to bring wine pairings, or in this case, appetizers, which included lovely rolled and stuffed proscuitto (figs, goat cheese, arugula and lemon zest), and I returned to the classic pairing of leg of lamb with creamy polenta, bordelaise, and asparagas. The lounge featured some fantastic cocktail attire and great word games.
|Tracy's fantastic rolled proscuitto|
Here's the menu:
Trio of Appetizers
Champagne Cocktails + Kir Royales
Rosemary & Garlic Crusted Leg of Lamb
Grilled Asparagus w/ Shabed Parmesan
Chocolate Soufflé with Raspberry Coulis
The Fuck T. S. Eliot Party is now in its 17th year. Every year, it makes February, a month that surely must be the silliest and more dour of the year, infintely more bearable.