Let me first tell you how much I love Cab Calloway. I LOVE HIM THIS MUCH!!! I first saw him in The Blues Brothers when I was a kid, and I was instantly hooked. I bought a vinyl compilation of his tunes and couldn’t get enough of it. Such a smooth voice, such clever and funny lyrics, and the peppiness of the music is simply irresistible! Everything he did was perfection. I don’t understand how anyone could not like his music. Not only is it timeless, but it was ahead of its time and Cab’s influence can still be heard today.
And now I shall tell you how much I love “Everybody Eats When They Come to My House.” It’s only the story of my life! I love to cook for people. As a Serbian woman it is one of my greatest pleasures in life.
I fix your favorite dishes
Hopin’ this good food fills ya
Work my hands to the bone in the kitchen alone
You better eat if it kills ya!
That’s my philosophy. I show my love by cooking for you! Please do not offend me by coming over without a gigantic appetite. For real. That shit pisses me off.
I grew up constantly surrounded by food. Every time we went to visit family we would eat for hours on end, and it was glorious! We visited my Dad’s parents three or four times a year, and no matter what, Baba (grandmother) would make roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy. Such delicious comfort food, and how delicious! One time we were talking about how she made that every time we arrived, and then next time she made something else. She thought we were complaining about having to eat the same thing all the time. So let that be a lesson to you: Serbian women are very sensitive when it comes to their cooking. Just eat it and be grateful.
When I was in college I would invite people over for dinner, and I just loved to make up recipes and share them with everyone. Not only that, but I enjoyed enlightening them with what to them were exotic foods like feta cheese, or showing them that you could make your own soup with bouillon cubes. (Imagine if I had explained how to make soup stock from scratch!) Two of my roommates got hooked on the feta cheese I brought back to school every two weeks when I’d go back home for the weekend. They would sit and eat a whole brick of it in one sitting. Whenever I’d have a friend come over to study I’d make sure there was a meze platter with cheese, crackers, and dried meats. It’s in my Serbian nature to be a good hostess, and that means feeding guests.
Orthodox Christmas is January 7, so that meant that I was away at college one year on Christmas since it was the first day of school. Though I couldn’t be with my family that day, I invited some friends over and recreated a Serbian Christmas dinner as much as possible. My Baba on my Mom’s side always started meals with soup, per Serbian tradition, so I made a vat of chicken noodle soup. I couldn’t roast a whole pig in our little apartment, so I had a big ham instead (it’s not Christmas without some form of tasty piggy!). I made a shitload of roasted potatoes, corn, green beans, salad, and, of course, fresh bread. I was not much of a baker back then, but I did have a lot of Baba’s cookies to share for dessert. Though being with my family would have been ideal, this was a lovely substitution.
All of my friends are welcome
Don’t make me coax you, moax you
Eat the tables, the chairs, the napkins—who cares?
You gotta eat if it chokes ya!
When I finally moved out on my own I couldn’t wait to have dinner parties. I had to wait a few months for the first party, which I called My Big Fat Gay Sunday Movie Brunch. I invited my best gays over to watch the original Hairspray, then Some Like It Hot, finishing with the ultimate gay cult classic, Mommie Dearest. And the food was just as fabulous as the entertainment! The ham and hash brown casserole with eggs was the star of the show, with bacon, sausage, English muffins, and other tasty treats as the perfect supporting actors. There was also a full bar with mimosas flowing all over the place. Two of my friends made out in my bedroom. We were all drunk and full and happy by the time the sun went down. (And I’m pretty sure the sun wasn’t the only thing that went down that night!)
Even when I had crazy parties there was a ridiculous amount of food, and not just chips and salsa. One of my specialties (stolen from my gurl Giada De Laurentiis) is a brilliant take on bruschetta where you replace the traditional tomato concoction with melted gorgonzola and honey. There was always an impressive variety of cheeses and meats, as well as homemade dip of some sort. I’ve never been one to insult my guests with store-bought crap. There is no love in that. And I want you to taste my love!
I don’t have the time or money to entertain these days, so I have swallowed my pride and switched to potlucks for now. Every Thanksgiving Eve, I invite friends over for a night of eating and drinking and fantastic conversation, much of which revolves around callin’ bitches out. I don’t drink anymore, so these are not the wild parties of the past, but they really are so much more fun because I remember everything the next day! And though everyone equally contributes food to this event, I still do not allow anyone in my kitchen while I’m preparing my food. And I still do what both Babas always did: stay in the kitchen and continue to cook and clean throughout the party, only sitting down to eat when my wonderful friends fix me a plate and force me to. I really do enjoy taking care of them, and being in the kitchen the whole time is not at all a burden to me. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s where I prepare my love for all to enjoy.