Monday, February 16, 2009

"That makes my bowels explode" and other things you can't say at dinner parties

Every time I go to someone else's home for a meal, I begin with the same worry: what is the proper way to politely turn down food? For many people, it's as simple as saying, "no, thanks - I'm not hungry." But my family is Italian. That never works. So here is a list of phrases I've honed over the last two years.

"I had a late lunch"

"That doesn't agree with me" (this one can backfire when someone asks me "which part? I can take something out" and I have to respond with "all of it.")

"I didn't realize you'd have so much food - I ate before I left"

I've found though, that there is one sure fire way to make sure I don't have to deal with all that rigmarole. Bring a dish! You know what you can eat, and I'm sure that no matter how simple it is, you can make something your stomach will be happy with. One of my favorites puts an ethnic spin on a mix that's easy for everyone to follow.

Tastefully Simple Italian Beer Bread with marinara dipping sauce


1 pkg Bountiful Beer Bread

12 oz pale ale
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
pinch of basil
pinch of oregano

Preheat oven to 375. Pour beer into a large mixing bowl and add herbs & spices. Pour in bread mix and stir for 30 seconds (batter will become lumpy if stirred too long). Pour into greased bread pan and bake for 50-55 minutes.

Dipping sauce:

1 sm can plain tomato sauce
pinch baking soda (neutralizes acid)
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp basil
pinch of chives
1 Tbsp brown sugar

Combine ingredients on low in small sauce pan. Cover and simmer until warmed throughout. Dip bread, and enjoy! I guarantee you can bring this to any party and it will be a hit!

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