Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hosted at the Essex Skyline demonstration kitchen
Photography by Meg Strouse

A warm cup of chef’s hot cocoa

Wine & mixed berry gelée with sweet cream

Chestnut & pear soup
with savory banana and garlic bread pudding

Fresh eggnog with spirits made for adults

Roasted quail, wild rice stuffing, potato lentil hash,
cherry pomegranate reduction

Sticky toffee pudding, candied bacon,
cranberry orange sorbet


Hidden Dinner, Hidden Dinner
Hope you brought your appetite
Hidden Dinner, Hidden Dinner
Join us for our meal tonight.

Every Who down in Whoville liked Hidden Dinner a lot.
But the Grinch, who lived on the ninety-nineth floor of the Essex Skyline did not!

The Grinch hated Hidden Dinner! The whole dinner meal.
Now please don’t ask why, no one quite knows the deal.

It could be that his tempter couldn’t stand the long wait.
It could be that his diet didn’t let him eat so darn late.

It could be that he was afraid to catch a cold in the weather.
It could be that he was busy and just couldn’t get together.

But I think it may be, the most likely reason of all,
That his heart and his stomach were two sizes too small.

But, whatever the reason, his heart or his belly,
He wished they would just leave, maybe go to a deli.

Peering out through his greedy, beady, Grinchy eyes,
At the happy smiling faces, of the girls and the guys.

For he knew every Who, at the table in their seat,
Was busy socializing and finding new friends to meet.

“And they’re meeting and they’re greeting,” he snarled with a sneer.
“Tonight is Hidden Dinner! It’s already here!”

Then he growled and he thought, and he turned with a sway,
“I must find in my mind, a way to make it go away!

For tonight, yes I know, all the Who boys and girls,
Have dolled themselves up, into suits, into curls.

And they’ll toast and they’ll clink, and they’ll clog up the sink!
They’ll make a mess of the oven and have too much to drink!

They’ll open their corks, and they’ll use different forks!
They’ll talk about why only dorks should use sporks!

They’ll talk about pricing of spices and rice.
They’ll debate the proper temperature at which to keep ice!

And they’ll swap their bad recipes, they’ll gloat over goat cheese.
They’ll Yelp and they’ll Tweet and they’ll Facebook, those foodies!

Then the Who’s, after drinks, will be ready for the feast.
And they’ll feast!
And they’ll feast!
And they’ll feast! Feast! Feast! Feast!

They’ll feast on Who pudding, and rare Who roast beast,
Raw roast beast is a feast I can’t stand in the least!

And then they’ll do something, something awful I’m told.
Every Who at Hidden Dinner, the first-timers and the old.
They’ll start talking kindly and promising favors.
They’ll start to become friendly and forget that they’re strangers!”

And the more the Grinch though of this Hidden Dinner fling,
The more the Grinch thought, “I must stop this whole thing!

Why for over a year I’ve put up with it now.
I must stop Hidden Dinner! I must stop it, but how?”

Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea!

“I know just what to do!” The Grinch laughed in his throat.
“I’ll make a chef hat and I’ll make a chef coat!”

And he chuckled, and clucked, “What a great, crooked look.
With this coat and this hat, I’ll look just like a cook!”

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel.
You’re as cuddly as a cactus. You’re as charming as an eel.
Mr. Grinch!
You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel!

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch. Your heart’s an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders. You’ve got garlic in your soul.
Mr. Grinch!
I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

“All I need is a Who Sous Chef,” the Grinch looked around.
But the sous chefs were all working, there were none to be found.

Did that stop the Grinch? “Nope,” the Grinch simply said.
“If I can’t find a sous chef, I’ll grab a little Who Sous Chef instead!

(The Grinch walks over to a little, outcast Who)
You don’t look like you belong, you’re not part of this group.
You should join up with me and we’ll ruin their soup!”

So he took his new sous chef, and he gave her a whisk.
And he said to her then, “let’s burn their pear bisque.”

Then he scoped out the kitchen and the crew that was busy.
And he noticed his sous chef was looking quite dizzy.

“Don’t back out now, this will help them, this feat.
They ought to just stay at home and read Bon Appetit.”

Then they waltzed in the kitchen, past the plates and the glasses.
Past the liquids, the jellies, the solids, and gasses.

They took all they could, in their pockets and sleeves.
They took the big bowls, the ladles, and sieves.

“I think we’ve grabbed enough, they can’t cook a full dish.
They’ll regret this rebuff for not inviting this Grinch!”

You’re a vile one, Mr. Grinch. You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile.
Mr. Grinch!
Given the choice between the two of you I’d take the seasick crocodile!
You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch. You’re the king of sinful sots.
Your heart’s a dead tomato splotched with moldy purple spots.
Mr. Grinch!
You’re a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce!

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch, with a nauseous super “naus”!
You’re a crooked dirty jockey and you drive a crooked hoss.
Mr. Grinch!
Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up, in tangled up knots!

You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch. You’re a nasty-wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks. Your soul is full of gunk.
Mr. Grinch!
The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote, “Stink, stank, stunk”!

“We sure showed them,” the Grinch said with a song.
He felt a tap on his shoulder, “Mr. Grinch, this is wrong.”

It was the Who Sous Chef, with her eyes big and wide.
“I have no use for you then! Run away! Step aside!”

It was just about seven, and the Who’s grew concerned,
They saw the sous chef, and then they all learned.

They asked her to sit, and they offered their scraps.
“What a bunch of fools,” said the Grinch, “What a bunch of saps!”

He retreated to his refuge, with his loot, to his lair.
Took off his hat and coat, ran fingers through his hair.

“Who needs them? Who needs friends? I have acquaintances aplenty!
If I wanted to count them I would count there are many!

So pooh-pooh to the Who’s!” he grinchily scoffed.
“They must be finding out now Hidden Dinner is off!

Hidden Dinner, Hidden Dinner
Hope you brought your appetite
Hidden Dinner, Hidden Dinner
Join us for our meal tonight.

The Grinch, he stared down, dumbfounded at the scene.
“Maybe it’s not about the food, maybe it’s not about cuisine.”

(The Who Sous Chef walks over to the Grinch)
The Little Who Chef, with the blessing of the table,
asked up to Mr. Grinch, “would you join us, if you’re able?”

Photo by Skyline Essex

Photo by Skyline Essex