I didn't see Mad Men last night because I'm trying to be an early bird, but this weekend, as I was thinking how many people we owe dinner, last week's episode was on my mind.
I don't think it's giving anything away to say that there's a scene where the Drapers are having a dinner party. After the adults move from cocktails in the living room to the dinner table, but before they can sit down, Betty commands everyone's attention and lists the upcoming menu.
What do you think of that?
My immediate reaction, as I was watching the show, was irritation. For Pete's sake, don't interrupt people's conversation to talk about the food! It seemed like a rather flat-footed attempt to inject festivity into an occasion where people were already merry enough. (It also seemed like something I might do.)
But on further reflection, I thought that maybe describing the menu - it was a theme menu - actually did heighten the interest in the food and turn a home-cooked meal into a real occasion - and thereby paid a compliment to the guests. (And I thought, maybe that's something I might do!)
Everybody knows I love a theme party, whether it's a murder mystery dinner or a holiday costume party or a Fourth of July picnic. And I also feel pretty strongly that full participation by the guests as well as the host is really important. It's a hassle for everyone, true, but I think the anticipation of figuring out your outfit or preparing a color-coordinated dessert makes just going to someone's house into a significant event.
I think I'll start preparing some menus.