I’m usually a pretty casual person. Not only is our office population small and unassuming, but we work with food and I never know at the beginning of the day how much time I might need to spend in the kitchen. As a result, I rarely dress up for a day at work (seriously: I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I’ve worn panty hose during daylight hours in the last 12 months). In fact, 3 work days out of 5, you’ll find me in flats and machine washable clothes at the office. The other two days, if I have on something nicer, it’s only because I have a meeting with someone outside of our little group.
Last Thursday, I attended a fancy gala at the Four Seasons hotel that honoured this year’s Ontario Hostelry Institute’s award winners (My husband and his partner got the Gold Award designating them Ontario’s Independent Restauranteurs of the year!) I wore a filmy white organza top and a shiny aubergine coloured satin skirt – both designer label and ridiculously expensive in comparison to most of the other clothes in my closet. As I dressed, I didn’t think about the perils that eating a meal in that kind of outfit might present. But, as I sat down for dinner, I was overcome with fear when I thought about the high risk foods I might be asked to eat in my finery. They had already tried to get me to eat a drippingly juicy shrimp at the cocktail reception – who knew what hijinks lay ahead at dinner? My imagination ran away with me and I began to make a list of foods that one should never serve when people might be wearing delicate fabrics:
• ice cream cones
• spaghetti in tomato sauce
• anything ‘tall’ that can tumble down into a sauce and splash you
• gooey butter tarts
• croissants (buttery crumbs can be dangerous, too)
• whole cherry tomatoes
• red wine
• foods topped with melted, stringy cheese (like pizza)
• any hors d’oeuvres served with a dip
• ribs or chicken wings
• ripe cherries
There are likely many more foods to add to the list but that’s as far as I got before I had to rejoin polite conversation. I made it through the meal but not without being super careful (I left a roasted-on-the-vine tomato on my plate because it was just too likely to burst if I put my fork into it!) Have you ever had a dining disaster that ruined a favourite piece of clothing?