The Bell Curve Theory of Hors D'oeuvres

This Saturday AH and I were at Fairway shopping for groceries. My ambitious plan was that I would make a big pot of something which I would bring for lunch the rest of the week. (My "white chicken chili" lasted three days and I am now eating turkey, beets and cream of spinach in my work cafeteria.) I said to AH "I am going to that rich guys birthday tonight with JB and it starts really early. Do you think I should eat before or do you think there will be food there?" AH says "Rich people are funny. There's equal chances the spread will be awful or amazing. Money doesn't necessarily bring taste or attention to detail." "I think you might be on to something. Remember at RL and JG's party last week? It was like something out of Food and Wine, but they're just barely middle class." And thus was the bell curve/hors d'oeuvres theory born. The quality of food, drinks, and entertainment tends to increase proportionately to wealth until the point at which maximum cultural capital is attained. After this point enjoyment, interest and taste slowly decreases. This theory explains Long Island, tacky dotcom billionaires, and Paris Hilton. * The food at this party was middling -- I was without a camera to record the workmanlike crudite platter (complete with ranch dip), the supermarket-deli cheese and crackers, and the packaged brownie cupcakes. The art on the walls was little better, although the host (a high-placed economist for a very successful real estate firm) told me, "These artists are all mid-career which is why they look familiar to you. My curator is here -- he buys one or two pieces a year from artists who have work in at least one museum... Like MOMA." I blame some combination of the lack of food and the lack of culture for how ridiculously drunk I became after my third drink. My third drink served in a tiny dixie cup from the "hot" bartenders hired for the event. That or the host slipped me a roofie after overhearing me call his flat-screen tv "shockingly entry level for such a snob."

*There exists an exception to this rule, that I would like to call the "Old Patrician Policy (OPP)" which states "For those whose families have had money for long enough, all bets are off." The beautiful opulence or decay of the old rich is truly something to behold.


ht said...

two things:

1. back in grad school, when i made somewhere in the vicinity of $13K a year, it seemed to me entirely appropriate to throw parties with crazy fun hors d'oeuvres that would take upwards of two days to prepare. and, if i had the space in my tiny apartment, i'd probably continue to throw such parties, with all sorts of lovely food -- quite simply because i love food. and my friends love food. why would i feed them storebought cardboard? it's not about impressing people; it's about feeding them quality.

2. is it that the rich don't think that the rest of us can handle 'quality'? is it that they have a thought like, "i'd really like to serve some mini lobster rolls with caviar and a nice vodka chaser, but the heathens just wouldn't understand." [pause] "just go to c-town and get the party platter." is it like that?

Carson said...

It has to be said: speaking of your famous gourmandise, more than several people owe you their allegiance to Makers Mark! Malt liquor!!

Also, I've been serving your goat-cheese balsamic orzo salad as my own. (!)