Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The rants of a paranoid wannabee hostess

I must say I have one fear, the fear of inviting people to my house.

You see, I am a very private person. I am also messy, I have no head for decorating, actually its more like I can't be bothered. Why? After all those years of living in hotels, serviced apartments, rented accomodation I learnt that its pointless to decorate. Why? Because it will be inevitable that we would have to uproot ourselves again and move on. And when you one moves around a lot, one tries not to get too attached to the current place one lives in.

And yes the messy bit, my husband and I are two people who have a bad habit of leaving a trail of clothes and things all over the place, and not putting things where they are supposed to be. As a result, when we know we are about to have company, we (meaning I) will need to do a major overhaul, collecting socks, pants, ties, trousers, bags, magazines etc. You get the drift.

Its been much better since we moved here. Because I have someone to clean my place once a week. And I am one of those people who clears the house before the maid comes. So its good that she comes once a week because the day before (and sometimes the very same morning) she comes, time will be spent for me to put things away.

Surely, you'd think thats her job putting things away? But I am a little bit of a control freak, I like certain things at certain places so I prefer to put them away myself so I know where to put them. Plus I didn't want her to faint at the smell of our socks. (We'd need her to do some polishing and scrubbing. ;))

But I am digressing.

Yes one of the reasons I was anxious about entertaining is because of our personal mess. Now that we have extra help, I can no longer use that as an excuse.

Next, what should I serve them?

I would say I am an OK cook. Dear hubby, Allah bless him, always liked my cooking. So I have no problems dishing out meals for him. And he eats everything and almost anything I served. But for guests I never know what to cook.

Had to say that I was once traumatized. I had cooked up something western (thanks to Gary Rhodes), it was chicken with mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce. To my horror my guest asked me, "Mana nasinya?" Gulp! But I was cooking a semi gourmet dish! Rice? But errr we don't eat rice everyday ourselves and unfortunately because I never learnt to cook while I was at home, my repertoire of Malay dishes is somewhat every limited.

Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those wannable Mat Sallehs. I have no problems with tempoyak, petai, jering, budu, belacan, gulai etc etc etc. I just don't really know how to cook them very well. When we were in KL, we ate out a lot, so no problems getting Malay food there. Plus I don't like to use santan a lot when I cook, so that rules gulais out. And asam pedas is the only other alternative. I never know how to masak kicap (I think I did it once but thought that it was too much work.) And then masak bening I am not so good at. Well you get the drift.

I learnt to cook for myself at age 21, when I moved to Canada. I never cooked for myself before except for the ocassional maggi mee and telur rebus. I was shooed away from the kitchen when my grandma cooks, because the kitchen was her domain. So its only natural that Western dishes is what I am better at since I learnt Western style cooking and started experiementing with cooking in Canada.

Ok back to the issue of the menu again. So what do I serve them? I find it nerve wrecking cooking for company because I am a sensitive soul as well. What if they didn't like my food? I don't like being criticized for my cooking.

OK! OK! I know I am not perfect. And often enough I am over sensitive. Because I am a homemaker I thought the least I could be is a good cook. So if I my food is criticized I do take it somewhat badly. [I know I have issues about this, could be another blog entry.]

So why bother inviting people over then, you may ask. Dispense with entertaining at home.

Well I have received lots of kindness from my friends who have invited me over to their house. And I feel the need to reciprocate their generosity. Don't want them to think that I was too lokek (stingy) to invite people over to my place. Plus its good for siratulrahim rite?

So pardon me if I tear out my hair a bit more for the next few days. If you have any suggestions what I should serve to a party of twelve, made up of some Malaysian wifes with Mat-Salleh husbands and Malaysians of course, feel free to leave your suggestions preferably with menu as well in the comment box. :)

I do aspire to be a good and gracious hostess. I hoped that I could be a Martha Steward (not the jailbird part though.) Argghhhhhh. Stress!

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