Dinner Was Served

The Dinner Party of the Season (my season, anyways) was a success! I arrived over to the Glamorous Lady’s lovely, art-filled apartment carrying many, many bags of groceries. I’d been preparing all week, so I was equipped with Tupperware of balsamic reduction, caramelized onions, pistachio pesto, and homemade ricotta. As a general rule, I need to add one and a half hours to however long I think it will take to prepare for a dinner party on the day of. When will I learn? Still, I managed to make do in her small-ish New York City kitchen (so New York, in fact, that the oven was used for storing stray pots and pans). By 7pm, when guests started to arrive, most of the appetizers were out, and I even found five minutes to change into a dress and heels.

The hosts kept introducing me as “Mr.YemenEm’s wife, who’s a chef.” Which led to guests asking at which restaurant I worked and me explaining that I’m just a “home cook.” The Waldorf soup was a big hit, as were all of the appetizers (truffled deviled eggs; two types of bruschetta; and my stuffed mushrooms – a recipe I have been perfecting since college.

The guests were a mix of older former ambassadors and their wives, and some other State Department employees including a group of younger foreign service officers. I always enjoy meeting older Foreign Service officers and hearing about their favorites posts. The best conversation of the night had to be from two foreign service folks who had served in Russia. Mr.YemenEm and I have a running joke where he says Moscow should be our next post. “What a fascinating place!” he says, while I mentally collect all the reasons why I don’t particularly want to live in Russia (the cold; that the Russian people apparently have a saying about how only fools smile and laugh for no reason; the constant pressure to drink mass quantities of straight, unchilled vodka. And oh yes, the spying). These folks had some quite interesting stories about Russia that further intrigued Mr.YemenEm while further cementing my desire to not live in Russia.

At the end of the night, a former ambassador’s wife told me I will make a great Foreign Service wife. “When I started out, I had one recipe that I made and it was nothing good,” she said. I appreciated her comment. I do want to be a good partner to Mr.YemenEm and I see the value in having a strong sense of community in the foreign service. But then again, her remark did feed in a little to my insecurities about morphing in to a 1950s housewife, but hey, that’s my own issue.

On Monday, the couple who had lived in Russia they sent me a nice thank you note and little painted box from Russia “Whether you ever decide to go or not…”  I’m thinking not. But who knows? I certainly didn’t think I’d move to Yemen or cook a dinner party in a Park Avenue apartment for a bunch of ambassadors.

To the unexpected,



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