Though I have yet to confirm this theory with a Freudian psychoanalyst, it is my belief that at the instant we are poised to serve a piping hot culinary work of art, we turn into our mothers. Suddenly, everyone must be planted in his or her seat at the exact instant that dinner is ready.
If you love(ed) your mother but can't quite see yourself in her sensible shoes, build some flexibility into your serving schedule. Assume that your guests assume it is polite to arrive a few minutes late. Inviting habitual offenders half an hour earlier than you want them may be the oldest trick in the book -- but it still works.
Recently I fell pray (along with thirty other guests-cum-victims) to a new and amusing trick. The invitation read "Surprise birthday brunch. Be here by 11 a.m." I dutifully rushed my Sunday morning routine, skimming the newspaper and doing a few chores before arriving at the house just under the wire at 10:55 a.m. As I walked through the front door into the crowded living room, I immediately noticed the supposed surprisee hanging out with the crowd, chatting casually as though nothing was amiss. As I caught his eye, he acknowledged my confusion with a coy smile, and I realized in an instant that the surprise was on me.
The "surprise party" was a ruse, concocted by the clever host to entice his fashionably late guests to arrive at the party on time. And it worked. Should you decide to try this on your friends, choose the event carefully -- you will only get away with it once!
dates worthy of celebration
Elvis's birthday: January 8 (a good day for the All-Elvis Evening)
Groundhog day: February 2
February Blues: Any day of the month
The Surreal Gourmet's Birthday: March 6
Ides of March: March 15
April Fools' Day: April 1
Mardi Gras: The day before Ash Wednesday
Cinco de Mayo: May 5
Dali's birthday: May 11
The Running of the Bulls: July 7
Lucille Ball's birthday: August 6
Canadian Thanksgiving: Second Monday in October
Sadie Hawkins Day: November 5
First day of each new season: March 20, June 21, September 22, December 21
Longest/shortest day of the year: Longest, June 21; shortest, December 21
Solar events:Eclipses, comets, meteor showers, falling satellites, etc.
Last show of any famous TV series: Begs for theme food