Thursday, June 30, 2005


Nothing makes Christians happier than activities that eschew sin, and nothing is less likely to induce sinful thoughts than a Progressive Dinner. Indeed, one can put forward the case that the Israelites' wandering in the desert for 40 years was just a particularly ambitious progressive dinner, and that was lead by God Himself, so you can't get much more of an endorsement.

So last night my Bible study group had a progressive dinner, and while this particular one was not lead by God Himself, it was agreeable and entirely delicious.

However, I believe it might have gone better if it had been conducted in reverse.

That way, we would have started at SE's place. Her current home is a cheap 1980s unit intended to store single mothers and engineering students out of sight so their existence doesn't disturb those with more elevated sensibilities. It has oppressively low ceilings, tiny rooms and surfaces of relentless beige that made it seem as if we were 50 metres underground, even when we could hear the rain pounding against the roof. Despite the surroundings we very much enjoyed her excellent homemade dark chocolate mousse and apple crumble, we listened to Wacky Hits of the 90s, and we patted our over-full bellies while she and SD nostalgically demonstrated the Macarena.

In my reversed scenario, we would then have progressed to main course at my house, which was also built in the 1980s but designed to rip more money from the hapless tenant or mortgagee, hence higher ceilings, room to swing larger cats, and a patio. I cooked porterhouse steaks on the barbecue, and served them with my favourite potato salad (whole unpeeled baby new potatoes, sauteed red onion and flecks of italian sausage, whole egg mayonnaise, sweet corn and fresh rosemary). MC announced, in a quiet, earnest manner, that it was the best potato salad he had ever eaten. He also opined that the chardonnay that SE had brought tasted like something he'd once made himself, out of apples. I agreed with him on both counts.

Finally, we would have progressed to MC's house, a delightful 1920s weatherboard cottage draped in climbing roses and grape vines. There he served us an entree of whole prawns in garlic and chili butter, washed down with SE's other bottle of chardonnay, which was better than the main course bottle by several orders of magnitude.

We would have thus ended the night in a charmingly tumbledown old house in a cool part of town, with a decent wine in our glasses, and groovy retro bachelor pad music fresh in our minds instead of Shaggy's 'Mr Bombastic'.

I'm sure the Almighty would approve.


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