On Saturday, our book club
braved the sweltering heat and held a picnic at S1's garden. There were only four of us (Amica, K., the hostess and yours truly), but the food we'd prepared could easily have fed a veritable army. K. brought an incredibly yummy salad with nectarines and roasted lentils she'd "invented" herself, Amica impressed us with her picture-book soufflé, S1 had made a savoury strudel and tsatsiki and baked a cake and I contributed puff pastry with a sweet filling and a pasta salad.
When we e-mailed suggestions regarding who was to bring what, I almost didn't dare suggest the pasta salad, as I suspected my fellow book club members to be just as traumatised by this student party staple as I had been until very recently when FCN convinced me that it could actually be palatable. I got the recipe (I only say sun-dried tomatoes and roasted pine nuts!) off her and was glad the girls agreed that this was the antidote to all the vile concoctions we used to cold-shoulder in our student-days.
Is it an intrinsically Austrian thing, I wonder, that young people on a budget think over-cooked farfalle
with gloppy mayonaise, squares of cheap sausage meet and Emmental
cheese make up the centerpiece of a party buffet? I always gave those sad excuses for party food a wide berth, along with those infamously garlicky bread-spreads in big bowls that fall into the same category of easy-to-prepare-and-dead-cheap food. My pet-hate used to be those parties where you were encouraged to contribute food, which inevitably translated to 10 bowls of uninspired pasta salad and as many bowls of self-made spread with dubious ingredients and half a dozen loaves of bread. Personally, I'd rather stuff my face with crisps and peanuts than risk food poisoning or dog breath.
Oh, we were also supposed to discuss a book, David Guterson's Our Lady of the Forest.
As I was the only one who'd finished it we didn't really.