I love entertaining. You would think I’d tire of it, since cooking for parties and events is my job, but I never do. I love researching the perfect menu, making trips to five different stores for the right ingredients, and spending all day holed up in the kitchen preparing. Dare I forget the moment, thirty minutes before anyone arrives, when you crack open a bottle of wine and start the celebration alone. Except that you can’t really spend all day doing anything once you have a little one in tow. You generally end up frantic during the last minutes before your guests arrive, cursing the fact that nobody is home yet to help (ahem), gulping down that glass of wine just to stay calm.
Entertaining as a mother is a double-edged sword. On one hand it’s ideal because your child is obviously invited, can go to sleep at the proper time, and you don’t have to worry about driving home because hey, you’re already there! On the other hand, said home is in a constant state of disarray. Every time something is put away it is immediately returned to the floor, sofa, dog dish. Use your imagination! And you have to plan, shop for, and cook a nice meal. Make that an especially nice meal, if it is what you do and want to continue doing for a living.
After one too many transformations into a party prepping grump, I have admittedly scaled back on the elaborate meals I prefer to serve at dinner parties. One fortunate evening, the stars aligned (aka my son napped for an extra hour) and I found myself with copious time to sneak in an appetizer for the upcoming event! Since I hadn’t actually planned to make anything, I scoured the pantry and thus, this eggplant dip came to be. Not to worry, it doesn’t require much hands-on time. While an extra hour can seem comparable to hitting the jackpot these days, there’s still that play mat to puzzle back together.