Recently, I finished a large project – the kind that makes you burrow down, mole-like, into a dank hole of productivity, and emerge weeks later, unshowered and triumphant. As part of my quest to rejoin the world of humans, I made plans with a friend of mine.

At the last minute, this friend called and said, “Hey, I have a fun idea! Why don’t we forego going out – hang out at your place and have a little dinner party?”

Now, not many people know this about me, but in addition to writing desperately important, world-changing blog posts for Freelancer’s Union, I also consider myself a bit of a Hostess with the Mostest – Martha Stewart of Manhattan, if Martha Stewart was not particularly known for her a) taste b) organization c) craftiness d) cooking e) hosting abilities.

Now, for most mortals, a “little dinner party” might prove challenging when one’s apartment has been ransacked and neglected after weeks of intense isolation – but I knew that with a will and a way, I could show my guest a stunning, elegant evening worthy of my sterling reputation!

Without more fanfare, here is the menu I proposed to my friend – feel free to steal inspiration for your own post-project party!

1. Appetizers

Perhaps the most varied section of the menu! Any guest may take their pick from a wide variety of amuse-bouches. Selection includes:

  • Stale popcorn
  • Handful of leftover jellybeans
  • Off-brand pretzels, bought on a whim from the corner bodega
  • Half-eaten granola bar
  • Strange green juice (purchased as part of health kick; smells funny but that might be the point?)
  • Stolen shavings of roommate’s cheese

Any or all of these items may be accompanied by dipping sauces – including soy sauce packets, salad dressing that is probably still okay, or that hot sauce that my brother gave me as a gag gift last Christmas.

2. Salads

Hahahaha, that portion of the menu is covered in dust and rolled behind an unused Ab-Blaster 2000, am I right? Ho ho ho please save me from myself, friend!

Today’s “minimalist modern Americana” salad selections include:

  • Baby carrots, half-frozen by refrigerator
  • Strange green juice again, which is practically like a salad in a bottle, besides somebody has to eat it – it cost $6
  • Ketchup
  • Is that kale? Okay. Kale, I guess.

3. Soup

One package, Ramen Noodles – shrimp flavor packaging optional.


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4. Primi Course

That’s right, friend! “Primi.” We’re speaking Italian now, so you know this menu is CLASSY. Choose between a variety of Mediterranean-influenced first courses, including:

  • Pasta with butter and cheese. Ugh, but then we’re going to have to turn on the stove, and that is just, like…. a lot of effort. Also we are out of butter. And cheese. Do you like pasta with salt? It really brings out the flavor in the gluten.
  • Whatever that is in the blue Tupperware.
  • Roommate’s leftovers – looks like from the diner? Probably he won’t mind; I’ll tell him I threw it out.
  • Ham, eaten directly from package while standing over sink.

5. Secondi Course

Aren’t you full yet? Really? Jeez. Maybe just wait ten minutes, have a glass of water. Try to think of disgusting things.

6. Dessert

Now, I try not to take overdue pride in my menu, but here, the chef has truly outdone herself. A friend can really luxuriate in our sumptuous dessert options, including:

  • Bottle of honey transported from last apartment, three years ago
  • Peanut M&Ms, large bag
  • “Emergency” stash of peanut M&Ms, hidden behind sprouting potatoes
  • Mints stolen from dentist’s office
  • Expensive candy bar bought while feeling flush; tastes a bit like chocolate dirt
  • Crumbs from container of cookies eaten last night
  • Some kind of weird fruitcake thing that one guy gave us; when was that?
  • Assortment of Laffy-Taffy
  • Halloween candy stolen from small nephew during trick-or-treating FOR HIS OWN GOOD, OKAY?
  • Sugar packets

7. Beverages

  • Water, tap; served in cleanish Mason Jar
  • Wine, cheap; served in cleanish Mason Jar
  • Coffee, hot; poured directly into IV drip

Now, there’s a downside to such impeccable planning; my friend was intimidated by my sublime menu – (working tagline, “tasteful meets tasty.”) Sadly, she suggested that we go out to a restaurant instead. But don’t let such petty ups-and-downs hurt your hosting abilities! Invite a loved one over today for your own post-project feast, and revel in the… your friends are easily intimidated, too, huh?

Dinner party for freelancers only! Shall we start with tap water, or the green juice?

Dude - somebody has to drink it.

Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.