I belong to a book club. A very small group of women who, once upon a time, had children in the same preschool class. Today those same kids are high school seniors. And many books later, the moms still meet to chat and vent and laugh and eat, and, as our husbands suspect, rarely talk about the book.
Our next get-together is at my house. Which means I control the food:) And since I am trying to be good with my eating, I need to find the right balance between a great offering and either healthy choices for myself or delectable choices that hold no appeal to me. It also mean that I have a lot of cleaning to do!
I have long been aware that I am the least thin member of my book group. Every one of the other ladies is trim and fit. Some have been on diets in the past, but I never remember them being very large to begin with. One gal is a runner and a vegetarian. One has done Weight Watchers. A third went on a healthy eating kick a few years back while training for her first 5K. Another is an ice skater who teaches the sport to young kids and stays active that way. The sixth belongs to the same gym as me, takes lots of cardio classes, and walks her dog every day. When we get together, the gals eat. Sometimes a little; sometimes a lot. Sometimes they go for the junkiest of the junk; sometimes they only reach for the healthy options. I have given up figuring it out and trying to predict what food will sit uneaten and which will get scarfed down.
For me, past gatherings have often been as much about the food as they have about the conversation, companionship, and book. Sometimes I am eating healthy and almost dread going, worrying about the temptation and almost resenting having to sit for hours with a table of treats in front of me. Sometimes I am not eating well and look forward to having something tasty to nibble. One time I went in the throws of PMS, in eager anticipation of anything chocolate, only to be so disappointed there was none served that the hosted dug out some Halloween candy for me! (What can I say, it was the hormones.) Sometimes I go and partake of everything; sometimes I go and eat only the healthiest of offerings.
When I host, I like to have something for everyone. The person who might want to eat healthy, the chocoholic looking for a fix, the one who missed dinner and needs something more filling. And as someone who has not one gene in common with Martha Stewart, I always stress out a bit about what I am serving. Not only are these gals thin, but they are very creative and talented hostesses. Thank goodness they have other imperfections to make them likable. (Just kidding.)
So after waffling and obsessing thinking about this all week, here is my menu compromise for tonight:
- Hummus with pita bread
- Tomatoes (from my neighbor’s garden), mozzarella, and basil with balsamic vinegar
- Veggies and dip
- Chocolate covered almonds (from my husband’s Costco stash)
- M&M cookies (frozen from the batch I made my son last week)
Now that I look at it, maybe I can cut something out. I wanted to make it easy on myself. No baking to tantalize my olfactory senses. No complicated recipes that would test my culinary skill. Hopefully minimal stress. And very little temptation that might be leftover to entice me for days. A few hours of fun and food then back to the normal routine.
Are you a consummate hostess or domestically challenged like me? Have any great books to recommend?