Saturday, May 20, 2006
Julie has invited me to be part of her birthday party at her home in North London. And talk about a contrast with my last arrival. This time I arrived a good 45 minutes early, so I have time to discuss with Julie how to incorporate the demo into the evening. We will be cooking the Lemon Drizzle Cake in a conventional oven. I piloted the cake earlier this week at Jacqui's party. Best of all, arriving early gives me the chance to collaborate with Julie on her buffet table, inserting some key pieces of Tupperware. This is really effective, and I think it is almost as important a showcase as the cooking demo itself. I have added to the buffet table my own CheeseSmart and Expressions pitcher, and from the kit four small Expressions bowls and an Eleganzia bowl.
The items I am not using tonight, I arrange like a shop window display: draped with a mauve tablecloth, you would never know that my display table has a dayjob as Julie's ironing board. I still have the very basic Tupperware kit, plus one or two extras from my own kitchen, so I still bring everything.
I am trying to make every party an event, so I have made some laminated enlargement of 1950s and 1960s Tupperware graphics, from a US consultant's display book. Julie tapes one of them to her front door to amuse guests as they arrive. It's quite a creative crowd, many of them work in the arts or in art and design education, so I talk a lot about the importance of Tupperware's aesthetics and design, from its appearance in New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1956 to the current Translations in Tupperware design contest.
Putting the CheeseSmart on the buffet table was definitely a Smart, not Cheesy, idea. It's my own CheeseSmart, which caught my eye at my own party before I became a consultant. Mostly I liked its look -- I rarely eat cheese! The guests seemed to share my enthusiasm: I sold three.
The cooking went well, but I am fairly sure that Julie's self-raising flour was actually plain. The baking powder helped, and the crunchy lemon topping was fantastic, but it was a bit flat. Like a lot of Londoners, Julie has a kitchen diner which is spacious for a single person, but a bit of a squeeze for ten guests and a Tupperware Man. I climbed up onto an Ikea stool in the corner, and supervised from there. With my floor-length camouflage apron and wielding a silicone spatula, I looked like a very domestic Ninja assassin.
With her rewards in free and half-price Tupperware, Julie came out with £65 worth of Tupperware for about £15. One guest, Helen, works as an administrator for the Product Design course at one of the big design colleges, so if I can't persuade those guys to have a Tupperware party, I will eat my apron.
Next stop Cambridge, where my friends Munizha and Hank have asked me to run a Saturday afternoon event next weekend. I wasn't planning on ever hauling my trolleybag long-distance. but on reflection I am happy to go where the Tupperware takes me.