Thank goodness for all these austerity cutbacks!
OK, I admit that’s not something you’ll hear me say every day, but stay with me!
Do you remember your twenties? When being invited round to friends for a “dinner party” meant a mince based dish served with lashings of powerful garlic bread. And it didn’t matter one jot what you brought to drink - it could come in a plastic bottle for all anyone cared (and often did). I distinctly remember having a conversation with a male friend about the options for buying beer: cheap so you can drink a lot - vs - expensive and gets you pissed quick. It was an important debate! A time when red-wine mouth and Walls Vienetta for pudding happened regularly. When we all smoked - even those of us that didn’t.
Then the swanky years hit - when “dinner party” meant visiting a wine shop (note: not an “offy”, a “wine shop”). It seemed perfectly OK to take advice from the man in red cords and a pink rugby shirt about “palettes” and “acidity” and “new world”. Food went up a notch and ingredients had to be organic, and “sourced” rather than bought. It was served in Le Creuset, rather than the foil dish it came in when it was pulled from Asda’s freezer section.
And then the recession hit. Or was it children? Or age? Or did we just grow up a bit? Either way, we don’t go to dinner parties anymore. To be honest, I think I’d be too tired. And luckily it seems that most of us have calmed down and found a middle ground somewhere between the two. We can eat (low fat) mince based dishes served with lashings of powerful garlic (ciabatta) bread. Your wine still shouldn’t come in a plastic bottle, but a plastic cork is OK. And the Vienetta? Well, stick a tub of Haagen Dazs in the middle of the table and we can all have another glass of wine while we wait for it to soften enough to get the spoon in...