Party food (II)- The proposal

Whenever L and I are inviting guests over for dinner, there is a series of procedures we usually go through before the actual day.

First, the menu planning. It is done by me obviously and I always get too excited over the new recipes that I often overlook the heavy workload. L, on the other hand, is a pretty strict examiner before he approves my menu. After the approval of my menu, we are ready to shop for ingredients and materials. So when it comes to the stage of the menu proposal, I need to be creative and confident because L rejected my menu for several times by just repeating “No…!” and he didn’t even take his eyes off from the TV.

As we are having 13 guests this time, the proposal seems more tricky than usual. I have vegeterian and non-vegeterian guests, big eaters, meat lovers, health-conscious guests and a kid. Weeks before the actual day, I drafted the menu with 4 appetizers, 2 main dishes, 3 sides, 1 vegeterian main dish and 1 dessert. L definitely would reject this crazy menu. I had all my details written in my iPad and started my proposal to L who was watching TV at that time. I picked his TV time to do this as I thought he would never pay his attention on my talking and eventually approve my menu quickly.

“I planned to prepare 4 appetizers…”
“4? You are unrealistically ambitious! No no!” L rejected me before I could even finish my first line.
“But I picked the fast and easy appetizers, you see…” and I went on explaining and showing my cookbooks high up but L totally shut down and continued his TV shows.

Right, here comes the “creative” part. L had been busy and obsessed about his new interest lately and he didn’t ask about the menu since then. I changed my tactic so I didn’t talk about the menu to him until the day before the dinner on which we had to do our shopping for sure. We filled our trolly without him questioning anything except a few of his usual facial expression telling me “what the — is this for?!”


On our way home, I started again my proposal in the car. It was like doing a PhD project proposal to the thesis committee.

“4 appetizers isn’t a crazy ideas. We have 13 guests, 4 appetizers is reasonable and it is good to have them to keep our guests occupied after their arrival so I can start cooking the dishes that need to be served warm and immediately. As there will be a combination of cold and hot appetizers, I can prepare the two cold appetizers in the morning and keep them in the fridge so I can do the main dishes in the afternoon. If any of them screw up and delays my schedule, I will cancel my dessert plan.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I have all things written down in my arranged schedule, 3 pages long. I planned well.” This is when the ultimate confidence kicked in.
“…means you need to start in the morning, that’s the whole day of work.”
“I know, but we have 13 guests and the appetizers will look great! Please…please….please…” As I am never a soft-talking wife in my life, that was the very rare situation I talked gently and tried to get that Puss in boots-eyes on my face.
(But I forgot L was driving and it was dark in the car.)
“I am just concern that it’ll be too overwhelming and you’ll get stressed out.” Hah, I took it as a “Yes” from him.
“You sure you can handle all these?”
“No, but I have my helper, you going to help me right?”

So I prepared my 4 appetizers in the end and here are the two with very simple steps, the devil eggs and smoke salmon on crackers.

My life with L is mostly “boring” as compared to many other couples around me. At times I feel that we are just like our parents who have been married for 40 years or more. However, I always burst out giggling when I think of those normal daily conversation of us which sound pretty silly sometimes. If I viewed our life together as a buffet dinner, these little conversations of us would have been the mini appetizers. They were definitely not filling at all. They stayed on my taste buds so shortly as it took only one or two bites to finish them but surprisingly they were the tiny yet delightful memories that lingered around.

Deviled eggs

Serves 7-14
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Egg
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Website modified from Martha Stewart;s Deviled eggs


  • 7 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon shallots (minced)
  • paprika powder (for garnish)


Step 1
Cut the hard-boiled eggs into half lengthwise. Spoon out the egg yolks carefully to leave the egg white nicely intact.
Step 2
Mix mayonnaise, mustard, shallots and vinaigrette together in a bowl. Add the egg yolks and smash the yolks lightly with a fork. Combine everything well until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 3
Place the mixture into the egg whites and sprinkle on top with paprika powder right before serving.


You can keep the eggs in the fridge for hours before serving

Smoked salmon on cracker

Serves 14
Prep time 10 minutes
Meal type Appetizer
Misc Serve Cold


  • 14 pieces thin rice crackers
  • 14 thin slices smoked salmon
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise


Step 1
Roll up the smoked salmon slices gently and arranged on top of the crackers.
Step 2
Add a droplet of light mayonnaise on top of the salmon. Serve immediately.
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