Since The Husband and I moved into our new place and met a few very nice neighbors, we’ve been dying to invite them over to get to know them better! It was also wonderful seeing our boys make friends with the many kids around our place and we wanted to have a get-together with the families in order to
get some free babysitting foster the relationships.
Hence, the idea of calling people over for a pool-cum-barbecue party! I talked about it on Facebook with my friends because I was pretty nervous! This being the first time we had a backyard, we had never barbecued before (though we did grill using our oven) and we wanted to make everything comfortable for our neighbors who were predominantly Caucasian by having classic American food as well as some Indian cuisine that people may like to try!
I’ve seen a lot of posts and updates about how virtual ‘friendships‘ are based on personal benefit and which diss online interactions, and all I can say is that I must be very lucky! Within a few hours, I got an outpouring of support from my wonderful bloggy friends! I felt so much more comfortable after hearing from Karen, who has an amazing food blog for anyone who wants to try simple but yummy recipes, and who gave me recipes for Spicy Pasta Salad, Broccoli slaw, and Berry Sangria! I also got a great suggestion from Synnove about making citronella torches with empty beer bottles (which I totally did not have time to do but, what a great idea!). And, I got people like Rubina, Rachna, Ruth, Sandy, Ruchira, Hema, Panchali di, Laura, Pooja, Hrishikesh, Sunila, Uma, and Christine, offering encouragement and suggestions!! Thanks so much, guys!
In the end, I managed to do only half of what I planned, if at all: only the downstairs was cleaned in the hope that no one would ask to see the upstairs, the floor was not mopped (which turned out to be okay since the outside was wet and people tracked in a bit of mud as they came in), but it still was a resounding success!!
The weather, which had been wonderfully sunny throughout the week, did an about face and was cloudy and humid, with light rain coming in from time to time. We still decided to go ahead, since it was warm enough and we figured that we could simply turn on our oven and have everything cooked indoors.
I decided on a mix of Indian and classic American dishes, as suggested by my Facebook friends. We had tandoori chicken, garbanzo beans or chhole curry, tortillas, cheeseburgers, pasta salad, fruit salad, and grilled mixed veggies. For starters, we had salsa and guacamole with tortilla chips, and margaritas, wine, and beer. My wonderful new friends got desserts of red velvet cake and pineapple upside down cake.
We were quite right about our neighbors – they are a wonderful bunch! Their enthusiasm was gratifying; they pooh-poohed staying indoors, enjoying the cloudiness, the warm breezes and the light rain that came in from time to time! They stood around the firepit with their wine glasses and beer bottles, or under our outdoor umbrella and gorged on guacamole and chatted and laughed and entertained us with their hilarious stories!
We had some elderly couples in the group and they turned out to be the most hilarious. One gentleman came up to me and gave me a big hug and held on! As the other men in the group turned to greet him, he just nodded at them and said, “you’ll have to wait..this hug could go on for a while”!
In fact, we got so comfortable with each other that topics turned to sex and religion! One of our neighbors told us this amazing story about her cousin who, at the age of nineteen, became a Carmelite nun, completely isolated from her family and with a vow of silence imposed, and then after 18 years, she decided she didn’t want to do it any more; she came out of the order, married her high school sweetheart (who had remained unmarried all those years), settled down in a big ranch and adopted 10 Vietnamese orphans!
I guess some of the guests got too comfortable in the end, because one gentleman got so sozzled that he actually tried to kiss another, and was ‘suitably rebuffed’!! That was the time we decided to pull out the desserts, all of which were brought by my wonderful guests!
All in all, a wonderful day and we hope to continue having such get togethers, without too much kissing involved!
Want some great suggestions for your next barbecue? Check out my board!