The Spanish Dinner Party

Published on 25/01/2011 in Expat Life

She was woken as usual by the bright sun shining into her bedroom. Every morning it was the same. Even with her newest curtains, bought at the market at El Calvario, and lined with heavy material, the sun managed to penetrate through and woke her early every day. She found herself even considering black out material but then thought “This is the reason we came to Spain! To enjoy our new life with constant and lovely heat.”

Food table in SpainShe made herself a coffee and watched as her husband jumped into his car and go to the local shop for his “English” newspaper. They had tried to become assimilated into the local Spanish society but the place was full of ‘Expat Brits’ and being new they were originally a novely item at the local Golf and Yacht clubs. Eventually like everything else their novelty value wore off and they too got sucked into the social circuit which, whilst very pleasant, was very predictable.

It was really the advent of satellite TV and in particular the afternoon cooking shows and competitions which started their latest socialising ‘Fad’

Six couples usually got together at the local golf club at the Alhaurin Golf hotel, on the Costa del Sol most afternoons. They would have a light lunch and a few drinks and hide from the hottest part of the day. Whilst it was a very nice course and really well located there was a limit to how often you could enjoy the surroundings, especially as everything cost money.

This afternoon Brian, who was the most enthusiastic of them all, suggested that they should entertain each other in their own houses once a month and give intimate little gourmet dinner parties “afuera”. It would really only involve at most 2 dinners per year for each couple, which was not too onerous. They all thought this was a great idea but of course this brought out the competitive spirit in the couples involved. The men were to choose very special wines and the wives of course excelling themselves, not only with the standard of their table settings and ambience they could create around their pool with cut glass, flower arrangements etc. but their menus had to beat anything shown on TV, for novelty and good fresh ideas.

As a result, the 6 couples formed a dinner club they called “La Cena español” and agreed to meet for dinner at a different house each month. Of course the lady of the house was to prepare the meal and the husband would select the supply of suitable wines. When it came time for Brian and Susie to have dinner at their house, like most women Susie wanted to outdo all the others and prepare an exquisite meal that was the best that any of them had ever seen, let alone eaten before.

A few weeks before the big event Susie got out her cookbook and decided to have imported aged Dexter beef fillet steaks smothered in a home made pepper sauce and coated with delicate local mushrooms. When she later went to the market to buy the mushrooms, she found that all the local mushrooms were sold out and all they had were very expensive tins of special imported Italian mushrooms which cost much more than even she was prepared to pay. She said to her husband, "We aren't going to have mushrooms because they are far too expensive."

He could see that she was heart broken that she would not be able to do justice to her beautiful steaks and he took pity on her.

“Listen!” he said quietly "Why don't you go down into the village and pick some of those mushrooms there? There are plenty of them in below the trees near the old river bed.

"No, I don't want to do that” she replied “I have heard that wild mushrooms can be very poisonous"

"Look! I’ve seen the local birds and animals eating them. Even the local Spanish people living nearby pick them and we have never heard of them be affected. They’ll be alright, go ahead and pick them” he assured her.

After thinking about this, Susie decided to give it a go and jumped into her car, went down to the old river bed and picked a big basketful. She noted how fresh and nice they looked and decided that they would look lovely on her steak.

She brought the wild mushrooms back home and washed them, sliced and diced them, cooked them slowly in salted butter and a soft red Rioja wine with a little onion, seasoned them well and put them into a covered dish ready to spread, all over her beautifully tender steaks. She had some raw steak trimmings left over and decided to mix them with the rest of the mushrooms and put them in old Rovers dog dish. She even poured some of the steak juice over them to make them really nice and tasty. She was not going to take any chances with her special dinner guests. They were after all her best friends and she really wanted to impress them.

The old pooch sniffed the dish and slobbering in anticipation, gobbled them all down as fast as he could, he could not wait they tasted so nice. All morning long Susie watched him very closely, but the wild mushrooms didn't seem to affect him, so she decided they would be safe to use that night on her special steaks.

The time for “La Cena español” arrived and the guests turned up in all their finery and beautiful gold and silver jewellery to set off their bronzed sun tans. The frocks and dresses were beyond compare and the men wore realty smart blazers from their different posh clubs. They all looked amazing. Truly; “The beautiful people”.

The wines were a great success the table set to perfection with discrete little aromatic candles flickering romantically in the trees and in pretty flower pots dotted around the little blue pool. As for the food? What beautiful Dexter steaks, cooked to crumble with wild mushrooms gathered that day by the fair hand of the wonderful hostess herself. After everyone had finished, they all sat back and relaxed with vintage port and complimented Susie on her lovely meal and her mushroom sauce. She and her husband were very pleased with themselves and positively glowed in the flattering praise.

About this time a neighbour discreetly popped her head around the corner of the house and motioned to Susie to join her. The lady realising that Susie was entertaining took her by the elbow and led her quietly out of earshot of her guests. She discreetly whispered in her ear that Susie’s old dog had unfortunately just died outside and she had left him lying in the garden. With this news, Susie rushed back to her guests in hysterics

After her guests finally calmed her down she told them what had happened and that her old dog was dead. It was decided that the best thing to do was to call a Doctor immediately and tell him what had happened.

The doctor being Spanish made Susie tell him twice quite loudly over the telephone exactly what had happened.

"It sounds very bad, but I think we are in time to take care of it. I will call for an ambulance and I will be there as quick as I can”

It wasn't long until they, and by now all the neighbours, could hear the sound of the siren and see the flashing lights as the ambulance came roaring down the road with all its lights going. When they got there, the ambulance men got out their medical cases and a stomach pump and pushed through the now gathering crowd of spectators. The doctor arrived shortly after and he too had to push his way through the by now not insubstantial crowd who were gathered outside and were keenly watching the proceeding, as the Doctor examined each guest.

One by one they took each person out onto the little patio beside the pool and sat them in one of those white plastic chairs, and carefully slid a fat well lubricated black rubber tube down each of their throats into their stomachs. The Doctor then worked the handle up and down with enthusiasm as he pumped their stomach contents out into a big basin on the ground. Needless to say the effect this had on the guests and spectators was traumatic but nobody really cared. This could be close run thing.

After the last well dressed guest was fully pumped out, the doctor, to much applause, turned to the crowd and said,

"I think everything will be OK now”. He smiled at Suzie and said “but let me know at once if any of you have any abdominal pains," and he left.

They were all looking very pale, weak and now dreadfully embarrassed and were sitting around Susie’s pool quite shaken by the whole experience.

Just then the neighbour who had spoken originally to Susie, pushed her way through the crowd and walked up to her with a piece of paper in her hand and said,

"It’s all OK now. I got the name and address of that callous B_st_ _d who ran your old dog over in his off-roader and didn’t stop”

Written by: Stephen Reid

About the author:

I am an Irish story teller but not the type that would immediately spring to mind. Whist I tell Gaelic stories as part of my repertoire I also tell contemporary stories and short funny stories. I have been doing it now for nearly 7.  See my website at

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Sherri B said:
06 February 2011 @ 17:51

This story really made me chuckle

Malcolm C said:
26 January 2011 @ 11:13

I haven't laughed so much for ages! Thanks....

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