Tippling the Sherry

In the 1960’s, my parent’s circle of friends included six couples. They rotated hosting dinner parties on Saturday nights. The men wore suits and ties. The women wore party dresses and heels. It was Al and Jean’s first turn with the group.

“Al, you’re late. I was counting on your help!” Jean rushed around their kitchen.

Al laid his wallet and keys on the green Formica bar. “I know honey, my meeting ran overtime.”

Jean tightened her apron strings. “Let me think.” She scanned her recipe. “Add Sherry…beef…cook…sour cream last. ”

“Can I help with anything? Maybe check the bar?” Al kissed Jean on her cheek.

“Please. Do we have Scotch?”

“We’re out, but we have Brandy and Vodka.” Al grinned with hope.

“Some of them like Scotch. Go pick some up, please?” Jean stood next to the stove. “Let’s see, dinner is cooking…dessert! Can you call the girls and check if anyone is bringing dessert? We have about an hour.”

“No.” Al shook his head. “But I’ll go get the Scotch.”

“Fine.” Jean scowled, “I’ll just whip up some chocolate chip cookies. Everyone likes them.”

Al nodded, “My favorite.”

“Mhm. Card tables. Cards.” Jean scanned the living room. “Ashtray! Company can’t use that old soup can! Pick up a new one with the Scotch. Hurry.” She waved Al off.

“Add Sherry.” Jean opened the bottle and sniffed. “How does it taste?” She splashed a few sips into a glass. “Not half bad.” She took a few more swallows. “Pretty good. I never would’ve guessed.”

Jean filled a small glass and drank it while she finished dinner preparations. She had a few more glasses while she mixed up the cookie batter. “Now, where did I put the chocolate chips?” She searched her cupboards and found a half full plastic bag. “Leftovers?” Jean hummed her favorite tune. “Everything is going just fine.”

Finished with meal prep and the tables set, Jean changed into her party dress.

Keys jingled from the kitchen area, and a bag crinkled. “Honey, I got the Scotch and the ashtray.”

Jean ambled down the hallway, her hand dragged along the wall. She turned off the timer. “That’s nice.” She bent down with her potholder to pull out the last batch of cookies and almost tipped over. “Oops.” Jean giggled.

“Uh, Honey?” Al grabbed Jean’s arm and placed her in a dining chair. “Have you been drinking?”

“No, silly.” Jean held onto Al’s arm.

“I definitely smell alcohol.”

“I drank some Sherry. It’s for cooking. No big deal.”

“It’s still alcohol, and you don’t drink much. I’m fixing some coffee. Stay in the chair, okay?”

Ten minutes later, the five other couples arrived.

Al explained about Jean tippling the Sherry. Everyone joked about it until they ate the cookies.

They choked, they spit, and they pulled out fuzzy black things from the cookies. Whatever they couldn’t rescue, they forced down with gulps of water.

“Honey, what in the world did you put in the cookies?” Al scraped out a piece from his mouth and inspected it. “Felt pieces?”

Jean’s face flushed bright red, “They looked like chocolate chips. Everything was going so well. That Sherry is wicked.”

If you don’t know what’s in the bag, don’t cook with it.

#cookingtime #dinner parties #felt

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