M and I have this conversation quite often. I was wondering how many of you do? If we see or hear someone on TV or in the newspapers we postulate as to whether or not we would have them to dinner.
The criteria is that they have to be 1) alive today and 2) entertaining/ educational/ interesting, not horrible, divisive, irritating. They generally have to have useful jobs as well and not be famous for the sake of it.
Who would you choose?
Our list runs thusly :
The Queen (because I think she is an amazing woman)
Prince Phillip (because I think he would be hysterical)
Boris Johnson (Mayor of London)
Stephen Fry (M, not me because he is soooo scornful about anything remotely spiritual in nature that can't be scientifically tied down, explained and labelled)
Brian Cox (physicist, another one of M's)
Rowan Atkinson (actor)
Ricky Wilson (lead singer Kaiser Chiefs and my new addition)
Ian Hislop (editor of private eye magazine)
Sandi Toksvig (writer/ presenter/ comic)
David Mitchell (comic)
Bill Bailey (comic and wildlife person)
Paul Merton (comic)
Fred MacAulay (comic)
Miles Jupp (comic)
Francis Wheen (comic)
Judi Dench (actress)
Maggie Smith (actress)
Hilary Mantel (writer)
Billy Connolly (comic)
Miranda Hart (comic)
Joni Mitchell (singer-songwriter)
C J Sansom (writer)
Kate Bush (singer-songwriter)
Margaret Atwood (writer)
Tony Robinson (presenter with a bent towards history)
David Attenborough (naturalist and presenter)
Brian Blessed (this is L's choice- an actor and explorer with a booming voice)
Phil Harding (archaeologist specialising in Neolithic history)
Martin Clunes (actor and extremely funny man with naughty twinkly eyes)
Benedict Cumberbatch (actor - my choice :-) )
Hugh Dennis (writer and comic)
Eddie Izzard (cross-dressing comic)
We're a bit low on women which is slightly depressing. It's also not meant to be an eye-candy list, otherwise I would have added the TVBF's Damien Lewis and Cillian Murphy, amongst others....
Then I suppose you have to decide what you'd feed them. My staple for feeding large amounts of people is usually something like lasagne with a huge bowl of salad and a loaf or two of crusty bread, followed by home-made sherry-drenched trifle or homemade chocolate brownie cake with M's blackberry ice cream.
If we have a spare trout in the freezer we sometimes do that instead with dauphinoise potatoes and steamed veggies from the garden, or we'll do roast pheasant from the local shoot with all the trimmings, because M is widely acknowledged to be the best roast tater chef for miles around. Risotto is another good one, as is sausage, apple and marmalade one-pot (just bung whatever you want in (I usually add tomatoes, onion, courgette, chunks of apple and beetroot), top off with stock, herbs, salt and pepper and stick in the oven for 40 mins). M makes a mean Chilli complete with all the fancy stuff like chilled sour cream in a dollop on the side, as well as a pretty divine plum tart which is best with organic double cream.
We always have G&T or something sparkly to start off with, along with nibbles in the form of posh crisps, and move on to wine with the meal, topping everything off with coffee and tea and (if I've been feeling particularly energetic) homemade chocolate and brandy truffles. Usually (if it's our friends from Romsey coming in a minibus) we end up finishing the night off with a bottle of whiskey, port and/ or homemade mulberry vodka, and get up the next morning with one of those hangovers that fools you into thinking you've escaped when really the worst is still to come.
D'you know what? All that food talk has made me starving- think I'll go and see what we can have tonight....