This past weekend I hosted a party for the first time in my life. While I’ve certainly had a friend or two over to my apartment since I moved to Chicago, I’ve never hosted a group of people by any means. The friends I’ve hosted in the past have also generally lived with me before, so I never felt much of a need to, you know, clean or in any way prepare for their arrival.
I’m a pretty neat person by nature–messes and clutter really, really stress me out–but the whole living-at-Union-Station-in-November thing put a serious damper on my normal cleaning habits. When forced to decide between grocery shopping so I could eat the following week or vacuuming so my rug could look clean for .0001 seconds before my hair got all over everything again, grocery shopping always won. Needless to say, my apartment was in desperate need of a deep clean, and knowing I had company coming over was just the kick in the pants I needed.
“Cleaning so all of Blogland doesn’t think I live like a pig” quickly turned into “The most thorough cleaning my unit has seen this century” as my roommate and I discovered all sorts of terrifying things about our apartment. Take, for example, an inherited Coors Light pitcher that I thought was stained but, as it turns out, simply had never been washed since the last person used it. The absolute most recent time this pitcher could have been used was May--MAY!–and I have a feeling it’s been much longer. Or, my personal favorite: the years of caked on grease that lived on top of our microwave (the years of dust bunnies on top of the ceiling fan was a close second, though). I know my apartment has never been empty since September 2009 at the latest (I suspect it hasn’t been empty for much longer than that), which means no one has ever been forced to deep clean the place, and it showed. DISGUSTING. I realize that cleaning isn’t the most exciting way to spend your free time, but come on people. Take some responsibility for your home and run a soapy sponge over your greasy kitchen utensils once every six months (or, better yet: after you use them).
In the process of all of this cleaning, I did everything I could to make our kitchen dirty again as I tackled three separate cookie recipes: sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and gluten-free sugar cookies. Gluten-free baking involved much weeping and gnashing of teeth on my part because that dough is sticky, but overall I was pretty happy with my adventures in cut-out cookie baking, as I had never made any kind of cut-out cookie before. I also made both vegan vanilla frosting and regular vanilla frosting, after which I decided to never buy frosting from the store again. Making frosting could not be simpler, both kinds tasted great, and I could eat them without having to turn a blind eye to all the partially hydrogenated trans fatty questionableness of store bought frosting. Win win win.
By mid afternoon, everything was ready to go!
To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I decorated Christmas cookies, but it was a lot of fun to play around with frosting and sprinkles to make some unique creations, such as New Year’s Eve Gingerbread Lady.
I guarantee she looks classier than I’ll look on New Year’s Eve, as, unless something unexpected happens, I expect to spend my New Year’s Eve in my parent’s living room, eating nachos (and, let’s be real: being annoying and feeding the crumblies to my dog), watching the par-tay in Times Square, and trying oh-so hard to not snap at my parents for their usual sassiness over the ridiculousness of New Year’s Eve. I, for one, happen to like New Year’s, thank you very much, but since right now it appears my options for the holiday are my parents or hanging out with my high school friends and their husbands (since, obviously, they’re all married), chances are I’ll be ringing in 2013 with the ‘rents. Livin’ the dream, folks.
Cookie decorating was lovely, and it’s safe to say I now have enough cookies in my apartment to feed an army. Fortunately, I have more company coming this week–our couch is serving as a free lodging Wednesday through Saturday? Sunday? as both my roommate and I have friends that will be in town for interviews–so I should be able to pawn some of the sugar off on them. Goodness knows (and my tummy knows!) I’ve had more than my fair share over the past few days, so I’ll be happy to spread the sweet joy.
What’s your favorite kind of cookie?
Have you ever hosted a party or get-together?