It is 103°F in Chicago, we’ve had power outages and my oven broke a few days ago. I don’t know what to do about the oven, or the heat, so I am taking a break from my kitchen. We just keep making gazpacho , which I don’t consider cooking, and watching movies.
But the heat hasn’t stopped me from reading cookbooks.
The Loaves and Fishes Cookbook  by Anna Pump is one of my all-time favorites, and I return to it occasionally like a baby blanket. I recently found a copy of The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook , which I am also enjoying. It is full of similarly 1990’s-feeling recipes and ingredients. There is something so comforting about the lifestyle presented in these books. The Pumps expect that we’re all throwing parties for 30+ people on a regular basis. I thought is was worth sharing an excerpt that I particularly love, which clearly outlines what we should have on hand for entertaining:
Set aside a shelf in your closet for only party supplies. This should include at least forty-eight to sixty napkins and four or five floor-length tablecloths for your buffets, bars, and dining room table. Look for water pitchers, plates, and serving trays at yard sales. You’ll need at least six pitchers, forty-eight cups and saucers, forty-eight plates, and forty-eight 9-inch dessert plates, which we also find to be the best size for first courses and salads.
You’ll need an assortment of glasses: seventy-two drinking glasses and wineglasses. Add extra sets of cutlery, which include long-handled serving spoons, forks, and ladles for larger buffets. You’ll also need a thirty-five-cup electric coffee maker. It can always make less. Extra sugar bowls and creamers and extra condiment bowls should be on your list, too.
Two serving platters, 18×14 x 1 1/2 inches are a must. Ample and sturdy, they are perfect for meals ranging from twenty to forty people. You’ll also need an assortment of shallow bowls, approximately 12 to 14 inches in diameter, for salads, vegetables, and soups.
Flat cake plates with 1-inch rims are compulsory.
I find these instructions simultaneously silly and wonderful. At the same time that I dismiss the instructions as impractical and “out of touch”, I very much want this shelf in my life. A shelf full of hundreds of pieces of occasionally used service ware. The shelf, of course, comes with a closet large enough to accommodate it. And then the closet comes with an appropriately sized house in the Hamptons. And then I can invite you all over for a party where we’ll eat like it is 1990.
Stay cool, friends.