Having a small party with friends is such a joy. I get excited when I prepare those parties. Through living in my 8 years of abroad life, I became quite a cook. I only used to cook Korean dishes. But now my cooking spectum is expended to other cuisines. Anyone would know the feeling as same as I do when guests are having a great time with your foods and hosting. And that is all about the small parties.
I thought I am well prepared by now. I've thrown many dinner parties and afternoon tea parties. I was so happy finally got friendly with oven to bake sweets. So I was so ready that my stuff came to India and settle down in my own apartment. Cause I can do those parties again. So far it had been great. Good people and good times with them. But some way I have yet to learn more how to throw a party.
I have some Indian friends before I came to India. I met them in Shanghai and we are still keeping in touch each others. I thought I knew how to serve dinner for them. But real India, the India that I am living is a lot more diverse than my thought. My excited hands were chopping onions and hot chillies. And making pancakes on two stoves. Then I start to grill 'Sam-gyob-sal' (means Pork belly) on a grill pan. As the guests came to my home, everyone was happy and excited about the house and the smell of home cooking.
How stupid I am. I didn't realized that there are vegetarians and India is a sort of headquarter of vegetarians. Of course there are vegetable dishes I made. But the appetizer soup was Kimchi Pork soup. I spent almost half of day to make the broth to be rich and the meat and Kimchi to be softened. So two of the guests could not eat the soup. One was a vegetarian and the other doesn't eat pork. Big sweat on my forehead invisibly. I just assumed that no beef is the safe choice for Indians. Luckily there were some vegetable dishes on the table and we had a great time, honestly.
So I thought once was a small mistake by my ignorance and it would not happen again for next time. My mistake starts from I assume I got this one. I made a perfect one this time. I've seen her eating meat. So I'm fine today. But unfortunately she only eats chicken. No pork, no beef or fish. Here I am. I blew it again.
Then last weekend, I invited some friends(different small group). I've had them before and I thought I am 100% sure I am safe on this time. They are all Indian Americans and They were here before. I made Korean rice cake soup. This is a tradition for Korean people eat on a New Year day morning. I made vegetarian broth and separated toppings like chopped scallions, thin strips of pan fried eggs, chopped Kimchi and soy sauce based grilled beef. and 2/3 of pancakes were vegetarian as well. Now I got this for sure. I was convinced that I made it perfect this time. I asked lightly to one girl that had pork at my table last time. "You are okay with beef, right?" Of course she doesn't eat beef. So none of them eat beef. I blew it again. Well the main course was easily vegetarian so everyone had their gigantic dishes. But I'm not yet there to be a perfect host.
It's always good to check check the preferences. What they don't eat from allergies to customs and traditions. If I ever only lived in Korea, I'd never learn these stuff. Yet there are too many things to learn. All of a sudden I thought of a small story from Aesop's fables. A fox and a crane invites each others and they quite didn't get the concept of welcoming their guest to a dinner table. How did I miss that. I guess I am learning these little by little by my own mistakes.
I think I'm ready now. Simple rule! Ask them first. And jump in to cooking. Who knows I prepared vegetarian meals and someone might say I don't eat mushrooms and I put mushrooms in every dishes. Knock on wood. I'll do my best.