Come Dine With Me - without the cameras.

I have some very silly friends. One of the things we like to do to entertain ourselves is hold themed parties where usually at least one of the men wears a frock.

A couple of years ago two of us were chatting about the TV series "Come Dine With Me" where amateur cooks compete to hold the perfect/most original/most entertaining dinner party.

This sounded like fun to us but we didn't fancy exposing ourselves to the general public via TV so thought we'd hold our own version, each couple hosting a dinner party once a month through the darkest months of winter.

We didn't actually plan for these events to be themed but when the first invitation arrived it was titled "Trailer Trash" so of course we felt duty bound to dress up.
I wore dungarees and pigtails and DH wore a short, tight, sparkly dress with a name badge saying "Jerry Springer Show - "I used to be a man" - Raylene"

Not long into the evening the doorbell rang. Our host grabbed DH and dragged (haha no pun intended!) him to answer the door with him. A completely unfazed Lib Dem candidate stood there. Looked DH up and down and asked:"Can I count on your vote in the next election?"

We enjoyed cola-baked ham that night then in subsequent evenings sampled the Best of British, a Costa Del Sol night (with us wearing summer clothes and sunglasses in 6 inches of snow) and my own black tie "Last night on the Titanic" night with 14 courses!

During the summer another friend asked if we planned to revive the "competition. We decided we would and booked there and then for four couples to compete on four occasions in October, November, January and February.

October saw us scouring the shops and our wardrobes for an 80's night when we revived a classic menu of prawn
Back to the 80's
cocktail, coq-au-vin and Black Forest Gateau. And of course Matchmakers and After Eights.

We've just completed November's episode which the invitation stated would be themed around Country and Western. Hence the picture (top left) of me and DH in dodgy cowboy gear. Im wearing my daughter's shorts (aged 10-11) which left me barely able to sit and DH is demonstrating the truth of the fact that you can buy almost anything off Ebay even at short notice! Including a fake leather-esque hat and bolo tie.

One of my friends, normally one of the more dignified and quiet ones actually, climbed into our car in a big coat and what looked like waterproof trousers to travel to the party. Well, it was raining but I thought it was an odd costume. When we arrived he kind of shuffled behind the host's wheelie bin and started to strip - to reveal a head to toe cow costume!

I'd love to show you what everyone else was wearing but most of them have the type of jobs where it's quite important that they maintain their dignity, in public anyway. So you'll have to make do with the pictures of me!

We ate corn chowder, ribs and chicken and strawberry shortcake and listened to authentic tunes being streamed live from an online Country and Western radio show in the States. There was American wine and there may have been Bourbon but I'm racking my brains to remember why the Sake came out........

The themes for the next two episodes are still under wraps and therefore top secret but one thing is for sure - there will be lots of laughs and plenty of good food -it's a great way for friends to cheer up the winter!

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