Hosting parties as a single person

I threw a holiday party yesterday.  It was primarily for my students, and a few friends joined as well.  This party was the second I have thrown in my apartment, but the first party was a last-minute affair, and I didn’t give my potential guests enough time to plan to come, so, while I was deeply touched by the presence of those who were there, it was a small and very manageable party (but I had leftovers for weeks).

This party was a holiday gathering, with the specific intent of doing Hanukkah (and Christmas – I had some Xmas cookies, anyway).  And the menu included latkes and sufganyot (jelly donuts).  I’ve done this before, in my big, party-friendly suburban home, with my husband to help with preparations, and playing host while I fried latkes.  I knew from experience that it is really helpful to prep as much as possible ahead of time, and I was hopeful that I would have at least a baking sheet of latkes done, and staying warm in the oven before my guests arrived.  But, of course, that didn’t happen.

One adventure in the day happened as I was disposing of the sweet potato peelings down the disposal.  It was the peels from 8 sweet potatoes, and I was merrily pushing them down into the grinding disposal, when all of a sudden, the water started backing up.  I turned off the disposal, and checked that nothing was stuck.  It seemed fine, and I tried again and again to get the disposal to work.  Great, I thought, this is not good.  And several thoughts flashed through my head.  

  1. Now is the time when a husband comes in handy!
  2. Am I going to have to call the landlords?
  3. How am I going to have a party with a stopped up kitchen sink?

And then I rolled up my sleeves, and explored the space under the sink.  One thing that was immediately clear was that the drain from the second, smaller sink was draining fine, and the two drains join to a larger main drain. And, secondly, that the disposal itself was not jammed, and the motor was clearly functioning. So, then I turned my attention to the U just distal to the disposal, and, happily, it is PVC pipe, and has easy to loosen joints (not sure what the proper name is for the pieces that screw the pipes together). So, I unscrewed the two ends of the U, and low and behold, it was jammed up with ground up potato peelings. I had been smart, and placed a bucket under the drain, which caught all the very unpleasant water that had collected in the disposal and in the backed up sink. I cleaned out the U pipe, and fitted it all back together, and everything worked like a charm.  No leaks!  Working disposal.  And triumphant single woman, here, who can solve her own domestic emergencies.

Under my sink


So, after that minor diversion (and I can use that as my excuse for why I didn’t have everything ready on time), it was on to the party.

I had a sweet potato kugel in the oven and the grated Russet potatoes were draining in a colander when my guests began to arrive.  Fortunately, a good friend had come a little early, and she was hugely helpful in supplying folks with drinks, and letting people in.  I hadn’t managed to put the house in as orderly a condition as I would have liked, and, I actually benefitted from having a group of students take on the project of putting a floor lamp together, so that there would be adequate light (they did a great job – I’m hoping someone shares with me a photo of the lamp-building crew).  As we are approaching a festival celebrating light in the darkest part of the year, it seems so appropriate that I ended up with a lamp at the end of the evening.

Latkes eventually did get fried and eaten, but my sufganyot dough never got made into donuts (due to my lack of enough oil to deep fry them in).  The mulled cider was a big success, and the kugel was delicious.

I’m throwing another party in two weeks, during Hanukkah (the real Hanukkah party, with lighting and singing and plenty more latkes). So, in part yesterday was a trial run for the real deal.  But, I had a lot of fun, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Even though the sufganyot never appeared. Gotta buy more oil.

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