Thursday, June 21, 2018
Cooking

Throw a dinner party in honor of 'The Great Gatsby'

When Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby opens Friday, we'll all want to live in the Roaring Twenties.

Just for a night, imagine you live in the Jazz Age and you're planning a dinner party even Jay Gatsby would envy.

• • •

Ever since Jay Gatsby moved next door, you've watched his lavish parties from afar. You've seen guests wandering through his blue gardens and drinking champagne on his balconies; you've heard his massive orchestra play Jazz History of the World until 2 a.m. Nobody else on Long Island throws such lavish parties. Especially not you. You're a good girl, not one of those scandalous flappers who roll their stockings and reveal their knees. You wouldn't even think of cutting your hair into a bob. But just this once, you want to be the one throwing a decadent dinner party.

Start by inviting your eight closest friends. (Make sure Daisy Buchanan doesn't hear about it. That girl will do anything for attention.) There's no need to remodel your house so it looks like the Hotel de Ville in Normandy. Simply create an elegant atmosphere by spreading a crisp white cloth over your dining table. For a posh centerpiece, arrange Peruvian lilies in tall glass vases. String twinkle lights absolutely everywhere. You want your house to shine so brilliantly that Gatsby can't miss it. (He'll wonder why he didn't get an invitation.) Before guests arrive, get ready to play the most popular tunes — they'll want to dance to the rhythm of the Charleston and Louis Armstrong's trumpet.

Save yourself plenty of time to get ready. Remember, it's the '20s, and you're a modern girl. You won't be labeled a "loose woman" if you wear heavy makeup. Apply the blush in circles on your cheeks, line your eyes with kohl, and paint your lips a scandalous crimson. Slip on a drop-waist sheath dress and adorn your hair with a glittering headband. Tonight you'll outshine even Daisy Buchanan.

Once your guests arrive, follow Gatsby's example and serve them champagne in glasses the size of finger bowls. While your guests enjoy cocktail hour, let them wander around your marble pool. (What? No marble pool? Pour them enough champagne and they won't notice.)

For the hors d'oeuvres, offer your guests mushrooms stuffed with crab and Brie. You already know what you'll serve as the main course. That boy Nick Carraway told you all about Gatsby's dinners, with the pork pastries and spiced hams. Can your meal outshine his? Yes. His spiced hams do not have a cherry glaze. Yours will. The fruity glaze is the perfect complement to the exotic spices of cumin and cardamom. For an elegant side dish, serve a Waldorf salad.

When your guests are tired of dancing the Charleston (and gossiping about your extravagant neighbor), you can treat them to an opulent dessert. This frozen concoction is all the rage. Combine pineapple sherbet with rich chocolate ice cream and drizzle warm caramel sauce over the top. Your guests will gasp in admiration when you present them with this rich indulgence.

And maybe somewhere, looking out from a lonely balcony, Jay Gatsby will lift his glass to you.

Emily Young is a freelance writer based in St. Petersburg.

Comments
Hereís the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

Hereís the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

It started with jugs of olive oil and cans of tuna, lots of it, which my husband hauled in one day and plunked on the counter. "Thatís my lunch!"That was about three months ago, and every day since there has been a new entity in our house to consider...
Published: 06/20/18
Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

More than 50,000 people are estimated to attend Pride weekend in St. Petersburg, which runs Friday to Sunday. (June is LGBTQ Pride Month.) Whether you plan to march in the parade or host your own smaller gathering, weíve selected five rainbow-themed ...
Published: 06/20/18
My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Hereís how he does it.

My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Hereís how he does it.

This week I wrote about something with which I have become very familiar: the ketogenic diet. If youíre like, "Huh?" you are where I was three months ago, before my husband, Phil, embarked on the weight-loss regimen. The keto diet is a high-fat, low-...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18
A perfect pick for dessert

A perfect pick for dessert

Americaís Test KitchenIt might seem impossible to improve on a perfect peach, but we decided to try. We wanted a simple, warm dessert that amplified the peachesí flavor. To achieve tender, flavorful peaches with a lightly sweet glaze, we began by tos...
Published: 06/19/18
Everything you need to know about marinating meat

Everything you need to know about marinating meat

For a lot of home cooks, marinating meat is almost as automatic as cooking the meat itself. Douse the meat in some kind of flavored liquid, pop it in the refrigerator overnight and cook it the next day.Seems straightforward enough, but there are reas...
Published: 06/19/18
Taste test: Chocolate chip cookies

Taste test: Chocolate chip cookies

When we started seeing ads for Nestle Toll House cookies already baked and prepackaged, I knew it was time for our tasters to get involved. They are cookie lovers, and one even has his own cookiemaking business. We found the Nestle brand and had hope...
Published: 06/18/18
Take grilled potatoes to another level with garlic and rosemary

Take grilled potatoes to another level with garlic and rosemary

By AMERICAíS TEST KITCHENGrilled potatoes are a summer classic. We wanted to put a new spin on this dish by adding rosemary and garlic. Unfortunately, we found it was difficult to add enough flavor to plain grilled potatoes. Coating the potatoes with...
Published: 06/13/18
Recipe for Stuffed Beef Burgers

Recipe for Stuffed Beef Burgers

Hidden inside these tame-looking burgers is a smoky and spicy blend of bacon, chipotle, cheese and something unexpected: pepperoni. Because the ground beef part of these burgers is patted fairly thin, thereís less of a chance youíll undercook it. For...
Published: 06/13/18
How to cook eggs for dinner: shakshuka, carbonara and more

How to cook eggs for dinner: shakshuka, carbonara and more

Eggs are an underutilized dinner ingredient. Aside from fried rice and a breakfast-for-dinner situation, I rarely use eggs in my cooking past the hour of 4 p.m. It makes no sense. Eggs are a great source of protein, able to be cooked in myriad ways, ...
Published: 06/12/18
Add some sweet heat to your cookout with these jerk chicken skewers

Add some sweet heat to your cookout with these jerk chicken skewers

By Matt BrooksBurgers and dogs may be the traditional staples of a cookout, but when youíre craving something more than meat on bun, a well-assembled skewer is a colorful showstopper on the grill.Itís scientifically proven that food tastes better whe...
Published: 06/12/18