Monday, March 30, 2009

SF: Move Over, Anita Madden

In the spring it’s great fun to be a San Francisco or anywhere. First there’s March Madness, with Kentucky basketball teams crawling through the brackets. If that’s not enough, just hang around for the first of May, when Kentucky Derby rolls around.

Last year, along with several other transplanted Kentuckians, we gave our first San Francisco Derby Party. It was an amazing success, beginning with 110 % turnout from our guest list (no neighs whatsoever and several crashers) and ending with calls for an encore next year.

Well, next year has arrived, and we’ve learned a few things from our past experience. Now (more than ever) The Derby will be Done Right in San Francisco. Here’s the checklist for a new and improved event.

1) No dress code. “Come Casual” was my first instinct but last year guests jumped ship on that one and came wearing hats and pearls. Sundresses. The women looked great, too. And then there was me, casual, jeans and sneakers. This year, I too will look-- oh so fine.

2) Mint juleps at the front door. This was the plan at Derby One and it can’t be improved upon. Our friend Jane contributed her silver cups and simple syrup. Sims and I had bourbon, sugar, and crushed ice. Every party—all year long—should start with mint juleps at the front door; it’s de rigueur, however you pronounce that word.

3) Got money? Last year we failed here. Time for the draw pot! Bring on the pick pot! Half our guests came with no cash whatsoever so we financed ALL the pots. It was a bailout plan like you’ve never seen….best not to repeat that in this economic climate.

4) Study up. With a guest list that includes non-Kentuckians, as well as Irish, Asian, and Russian friends, even “win, place, and show” came up as questions. Trifecta, Perfecta, Exacta, this was all Greek to some. So this year we’ll be prepared to field questions about geldings and standing at stud. We'll have our flip charts ready.

5) Lift every voice and sing. When the strains of “My Old Kentucky Home” resound through Churchill Downs, the group at home must rise and sing at the top of their lungs. No excuses, no Millie Vanillie. Not last year, not this year.

6) Abandon the calorie count. Cheese grits, country ham and beaten biscuits, corn pudding, bourbon pie. Chocolate. Bread pudding. Asparagus and strawberries. Last year we had ample samples of the Basic Southern Food Groups: sugar, lard, salt, and whiskey. This year, more of the same—with red roses on the table and the Bluegrass State’s best, if not healthiest, dishes all around.

So yes, Anita…with a little tweaking we too can do it right.

1 comment:

  1. Liz,
    C'mon don't forget Kentucky Derby-Pie . . .and true Southern kids are raised on chocolate gravy and homemade biscuts. . .another good drink your favorite Kentucky Bourbon and ALE81...I have really enjoyed viewing and reading your blog, what a creative format for sharing your writings and art.
    -Jenny Burton