I tried to prepare the meatballs ahead of time. Good thing I did, because they were horrible. I mean really bad. I'm sure they tasted just fine, but they didn't want to be balls.
So I begged Flora to cook a beef dish, over the weekend, as I figured it would probably be a good idea to have one meat dish that was Chinese - to ensure our guests didn't starve to death.
I consulted with my friend Kathy again - I needed a pep talk after failing miserably at meatballs. After our conversation, I realized I had to make yet another trip out to the store, to pick up pickled things and boiled peanuts for appetizers, rice bowls, soup bowls, soup spoons (I forgot the chopstick holders), beer, and egg custard tarts for dessert.
The rest of the dinner preparation was comical at best - the bell peppers I bought (to make a bell pepper salad - my second veggie dish, because you have to have two veggie dishes) were rotten on the bottom (so out they went). We made camponata instead. The rice had bugs in it (GROSS!), so off Hubs went at the last minute to find some new rice - he ended up returning with the rice, and our guests. Chase was going wild the whole time, taking everything that we were trying to put away - out again - until she finally fell asleep, just five minutes before everyone appeared.
I'm happy to report that the dinner went well. We had WAY too much food (which is what you strive for, otherwise you are rude), because neither of the wives came, which brought the count down to 4, from 6 - and I cooked for 8, to be safe.
Perhaps the hardest part of the evening was the fact that one of the guests did not speak English, so trying to include him on things was difficult. They ended up not eating much rice, not using the rice bowls, or the soup bowls, or drinking any beer.
I'm so glad we had this opportunity, and they were good guests, but there are a lot of cultural differences. For example, they went to take off their shoes to come in, and hubs said "don't worry, you can leave them on." It was pretty clear they were torn and that keeping their shoes on went against everything that was right in the world. I'm sure it's considered rude, and probably dirty, to keep shoes on in the home.
Hubs also noticed that they were having a hard time eating with our chopsticks because there are little blue knobs at the top, which makes it almost impossible to put the chopsticks together.
I'm sure they left thinking, "those silly Americans."
It's a good thing they didn't know we actually bought those chopsticks in Thailand, which is silly in itself, as the Thais do not use chopsticks.