Why do people call you thirty minutes before you’ve invited them for dinner? It’s something I don’t understand. Usually if you’re having folks for dinner, if you’re anything like me, during those precious few minutes before everyone arrives you’re racing around in your undies trying to get everything together so you can look relaxed when they arrive.
But people can’t resist calling—“We’re on our way!” “Can we bring anything?” “What time did you say to come?” “Can I bring two friends?”
There’s a couple of rules in Paris about dinner parties:
The first is that you never, ever show up on time. Thirty minutes late is normale, and if you show up earlier you just may catch your host in their undies too (which may or may not be such a bad thing.) Another is that you need to get people’s digicode in advance. Most buildings in Paris have a complex series of numbers and letters that you need to press on a pad by the entry to get into the building.
Sadly, people have a way of forgetting them and having to frantically call you from the sidewalk since they can’t get in. And lastly, no one in France has food allergies so if you’re invited for dinner, if you have an food issues, you’d better pipe up in advance or be prepared to eat Tête de veau…which, believe me, you don’t want to eat.
So when they call, while they’re blabbing on and on and on, you’re hyperventilating and all those thoughts are running through you mind—”Darn it. Why didn’t I trim my fingernails when I had time on Wednesday?” “Will they notice the pots and pans piled up in the bathtub?” (which is a whole ‘nother blog entry…) “Do I need to make more chips since I think I ate about half of them after I made them?”