Never Trust a Teenager

Now that I am over The Barman, the Actress and the Prostitute, I’m ready to tell you about the party.

But because some of you had concerns and questions, I will tell you that the Barman is back at uni, the Actress is alive and well (actually unwell) and the Prostitute is up to her usual tricks (pun intended).

Flowers for the tables

I did have a consoling conversation with the Actress’s mother about the trials and tribulations of bringing up a teenager who seems to only want to learn life’s lessons the hard way.  I think I could relate.  Anyway, it’s all in the history books now and what a well documented book it is – no thanks to the powers of blogging.

Anyway, the party was a sit-down dinner for 38 pretty little things with straightened hair, spray tans and French-polished nails wearing the shortest of dresses and the highest of heels.

The birthday princess had been quite determined with what she did and didn’t want and told her mother she wanted an Italian feast with platters of antipasto, two types of pasta, store-bought pizzas and salads.

Antipasto Platters

Now the mother of the princess has a fear of the kitchen and panics if she so much as has to feed the dog.  The thought of 38 sitting down for bowls of pasta was almost enough to cause her a serious coronary episode and so I was given an ‘SOS Mayday Mayday’ phone call and beetled around to see how I could help.   ‘How many people can you normally cook pasta for?’

‘Four.  About five if my other daughter comes home for dinner’.

‘Do you have a big saucepan?’

‘I’m not sure’.

‘Right.  Pasta’s quite difficult to cook for a crowd without a commercial kitchen so can we do something else?  What about trays of lasagne?  We could cook them in advance, then just re-heat…’

‘No.  Her mind’s made up and she says it’s her party and she wants a vegetarian pasta and a prawn pasta and I’m stressing but she says I’m silly for stressing because there’s nothing to it.  ‘It’s just pasta’, she said to me.’

‘What about dessert?

‘She’s ordering an ice cream cake.  Something that looks like a Bombe Alaska’.

‘Will it feed 40 people?’

‘She said that’s irrelevant because no one will eat it anyway.  She said it’s all about the drinks and we’re not to run out because that would be social suicide and can we make sure we have the dinner over with by 9pm so that then the real party can begin’.

‘So nobody’s going to eat at this party?’

‘Nobody.  She said none of the girls eat anything anyway; hallf of them are anorexic.  The food is just a procedure to get through then it’s on with the party’.

The very tiny ice cream cake

At the end of the meeting I had agreed to buy the flowers and decorate the tables, buy everything for the antipasto platters, chosen a theme colour of two different shades of pink, invited Carl to be on camera, and said I would bring over my glass jars, a salad bowl and two tablecloths.

I marinated mushrooms for the antipasto platters and they were sensational and easy to do and I’m going to make more for the upcoming festive season.  Do give them a try.

Grape tomatoes being tossed in the wok for the prawn penne

I arrived at the party an hour before it was due to start and helped with the setting up and made a big batch of vegetarian pasta that we put in a huge roasting dish covered with foil that we put in the oven to keep warm.  I put together the antipasto platters and then said I would make the salads.  The salads were to be rocket, pear and parmesan and I’d love to show you a photo but there was a slight situ in that the host had forgotten to buy the rocket so salads had to be scratched from the menu.

The barman arrived and so did the actress but we’re not going to talk any more about them and then some other girls walked in teetering in their shoes and so we started passing around the platters and within about half an hour all 38 girls were sitting up at the table.  I said to my friend, ‘Have you ordered the pizzas?’

‘No’, she said, ‘the princess doesn’t want dinner served until 7.30’.

‘But they’re all sitting up.  And they look like they’re about to start banging their knives and forks on the table.  They’re starving’.

‘Where’s that princess?  She told me none of them would eat anything.’

‘They’ve polished off those platters; there’s not so much as an olive left.  And the barman’s got nothing to do; they’re not drinking’.

Prawn Penne Pasta

We quickly sliced up a few bread sticks and smothered them in cream cheese with some smoked salmon on top with a little lemon and took those out to the tables.  And that was supposed to be dinner for those of us working in the kitchen.  The host quickly ordered the pizzas and I started making the prawn, spinach and pine nut penne pasta.

The pasta ready to be plated.

The pizzas arrived and we took them out to the tables and the eight pizzas were wolfed down.  We took the two pastas out and there wasn’t a morsel left.  Then we had to take that tiny ice cream cake out to the table and I managed to cut it into the thinnest slithers you have ever seen and fortunately the host had bought some cupcakes that were supposed to be for later but we did an alternate serve and everyone managed to enjoy something.

Plated up penne

Mini cupcakes

The moral of the story is clearly that teenagers have no clue and in as much as they think they know what they’re doing when it comes to organising a function  they should never be listened to.  Whippet-thin teenage girls do want to eat especially if boys aren’t invited, the food is pretty much vegetarian and they know they’re invited to a sit-down dinner.

Cupcakes in two shades of pink

But I have to say, I had a very fun night and it was wonderful to be invited.

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  1. Hahahah! Well glad to hear that you adults were well organised in the kitchen and everything managed to go off without a hitch 🙂

  2. You are involved with such great food events …. I want to be your neighbor!

  3. What a great job you did with catering and decorating! Haha, kids have no idea what they’re talking about…when there’s good food, people will eat!

  4. I am amazed that you arrive an hour before the party and pull all of this together. I would have been panicking.

  5. Pasta for 40 people! I don’t know how you did it, but it all looked fabulous. And those cupcakes! And I forgot to mention the flowers from the last post–beautiful. You have such style, Charlie–the Princess should be really happy. And the anorexic frieds ; )

  6. Really not sure I am strong enough to handle teenagers.
    Kudos on a job well done Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  7. “Princesses” should be outlawed. 🙂 That said I now understand the host forgetting to buy the rocket while restraining herself from strangling her little darling. Lovely pink cupcakes especially with the flower decoration. Charlie pulls another disaster out of the first … as expected.

  8. You are quite the catering genius my ml friend, handled it so well 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. What a good friend you are, to have put that party back on track with your amazing food. The cupcakes are exquisite as were the floral decor. What a beautiful party and it’s nice that everything is back to normal, or what ever normal is.

  10. I’d be surprised if the kids could figure out everything and plan it well. Great job catering! I never cooked for so many people in my life. I wish I live nearby so I could ask for help from you! The food looks great and I love your flower arrangement!

  11. I’ve cooked some big meals in my time, and I work for a wedding caterer over summer, everyone eats if there’s free food. I love that your friend could call you up to help! What a wonderful party!

  12. I had such a different, different teenage life to what your kids experience! Reading your blog is like looking into another world. Gossip Girl-world, I think! 😛

  13. I want too to be your neighbour 🙂 I am so glad to hear that everybody is fine at the end. The foods are amazing, I wished to be there too! Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  14. I’m glad it worked out in the end for you Charlie! I so agree about those girls eating more when there’s no boys around watching 🙂
    Never take a teenagers word as gospel, they hear the first few words then switch off, I’ve learnt the hard way that my husband tends to do the same 🙁

  15. Glad it worked out, food wise. Birthday girl knew what she wanted – which didn’t reflect the majority view it seems. But some smart adults came to the rescue:) Sort of had a similar situation, albeit on a much smaller scale. Learnt that I should take kids suggestions with a pinch of salt

  16. Can I be your neighbor Charlie? I can’t imagine a more perfect hostess who can manage things, no , disasters, so efficiently. Awesome post!

  17. I am glad to hear that the girls ate. How could they resist your scrumptious platters and pasta?

  18. Mum had a similar situation with my younger sister. Luckily she didn’t listen to her though and had lots of backup food. You seem to have managed pretty well! That’s rather funny that they eat more when the boys aren’t around. I think I eat more when there are boys because I see them keep eating so I keep eating!

  19. You did all that in an hour? You are definitely a whizz kid! I have to learn to work faster. It sounds to me like you were a lifesaver not a caterer. Your friend is very lucky to have you in her life.

  20. You should totally start a catering business hun – you manage to pull of the most amazing feats out of chaos!. That food??? How could they NOT eat it. 🙂 xx

  21. You have the patience of Job and are the kind of friend we’d all love to be. Good for you, Charlie!

  22. I thought when she said 38 girls (no boys) got together for dinner nobody would eat anything that it wasn’t my recollection. With boys, they eat like birds but without, they eat like boys. 🙂

    Sounds like everyone had a great time, including you.

  23. You are amazing Charlie 🙂 to cook all that food and I agree that cooking pasta for a large crowd is NOT easy but you managed hehe ~

    I love the look of the cupcakes! Where did you get those little roses? 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Daisy, I didn’t make the cupcakes. They came from a shop in Neutral Bay in Ben Boyd Road. Best cupcakes ever!

  24. I think the princess needs to be locked in a tower.

  25. It’s so difficult to figure out how much food to serve these young things!! I had the same problem for my daughter’s birthday.. I wasn’t to do much, the girls wouldn’t eat.. I wasn’t to make a big “fuss” because it would be embarrassing to have tons of food and no one showing up. Of course, you know the rest.. lots of hungry girls and the Dad and my son got their fingers slapped for trying to have one small piece of sushi. Yes.. never listen to the teenagers!!

  26. Didn’t surprise me a bit…teenagers eat.Those flower cupcakes are divine!
    Good job with the Italian food.

  27. Thank goodness you were there and thank goodness you made decent pasta serves despite instructions! It sounds like it all went well in the end but I suspect there were a few tense moments (well, aren’t there always with teenagers). I know a few whippet thin teenage and young adult girls, no eating disorder in sight, and they most definitely eat 😛

  28. This reminds me of my son’s 18th then I ordered 40 pizzas which everyone thought was crazy. They didn’t get eaten for hours then at around midnight 30 got demolished and in the morning the last 10 were eaten cold for breakfast – ha! Love your story.

  29. Well the host was lucky to have you there! You are so amazingly resourceful and creative, you could probably hire yourself out for huge sums just based on those two qualities! the SOS caterer!

  30. Each time I have to cater for a 18 or a 21st, I worry. Sometimes they eat absolutley nothing and other times they eat like horses . You just never can tell. Lucky the barman wasn’t too busy he had time to attend to the actress

  31. LOL they’re so unpredictable! Ahh the life of a parent of a teenager…

  32. LOL kids… and thinking I was a teenager some time back… So true never listen to a teenager, they think they know everything (ego!) but they dont and that pretty much includes my own self at that time, but not anymore, thank god!!

  33. You must share the recipe for the prawn pasta. It looks delicious!

  34. That’s the key – the boys weren’t invited. The girls could eat all they wanted. 😉

  35. How lucky you were there and able to step in and save the day!!! What a gorgeous job you did! Everything looks so beautiful and delicious 🙂

  36. I’d love to see your marinated mushroom recipe!

  37. You are so good at calming chaos in the kitchen, Charlie. What a lovely assortment of pastas. They all look just delicious! And the antipasti sounds really wonderful,too. I would love to watch you in the kitchen and learn organizational skills from you! I think if we all keep blogging maybe the day will come we’ll be posting videos! I’ll look forward to your video clips! 🙂

  38. Fab looking food, but “store-bought pizzas”… for shame! Was it at least a proper thin-crust, stone-baked one or were they deep-pan completely un-Italian ones?

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I should have explained. The pizzas came from a very up-market Italian restaurant and were delicious as well as authentic with thin, crispy crusts and beautiful. I managed to grab one slice before there was nothing left.

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