When Disaster Strikes

by | Dec 22, 2009 | Cocktails, Entertaining

Last July, the Circle H Cowgirls hosted a dinner party for nine women. The women had purchased the dinner at a middle school fundraiser. And, since they had paid quite a large sum of money for the dinner, we wanted to make sure everything was perfect. The dinner party was going well, the guests were enjoying appetizers, cosmopolitans, and margarita jello shooters out on the patio. The dining room table was beautifully set and included pre-printed menus listing what the guests would be served for dinner and on what page they could find it in our cookbook. The dinner was nearly ready, all we had left to do was cook the wild rice with mushrooms casserole for about 20 minutes. When the casserole was being put into the oven, disaster struck. The person opening the oven door (that would be me) hit the large casserole dish, knocked it out of Wendy’s hands, and the dish fell onto the tile floor, breaking into thousands of pieces and spilling the contents all over the floors of the kitchen and butler’s pantry. We all stood there for several seconds in shock.

When we recovered from our shock, we realized that in addition to cleaning up this huge mess, we needed to come up with a side dish and fast. We discussed ordering something from a restaurant. I went out to my freezer to see if there was something out there to salvage the dinner party. Fortunately, I had a few bags of Trader Joe’s frozen mashed potatoes. I popped those into the microwave. I found a package of powdered brown gravy and we got that mixed and on the stove. Into the mashed potatoes we poured some garlic oil that Patsy had made for the salad and a bit of heavy whipping cream and ground pepper. We put some red wine and Worcestershire sauce into the gravy. Our dinner guests sat down to eat and Nancy explained to them that there had been a slight change in the menu.

Nancy Mueller explains to the diners that there has been a change in the menu

While we were removing the dinner plates, the guests raved about the mashed potatoes and gravy, and said they hoped the recipe was in the cookbook. While we could have taken full credit for the great mashed potatoes and gravy, we confessed that they had Trader Joe’s and McCormick to thank for them.

Just in case a disaster strikes this holiday season at one of your dinner parties, below is the cosmopolitan recipe from our cookbook. In the face of disaster, you can use these to make your guests . . .  and yourself happy.  ~merry carter~

The Perfect Cosmopolitan

Makes 1 serving


  • 1 lemon or lime wedge
  • Sugar for coating the rim
  • Crushed ice
  • 4 ounces lemon-flavored vodka
  • 2 ounces Triple Sec
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • Splash of Rose’s lime juice (or fresh)
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Lemon or lime twist, for garnish


Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with the lemon wedge. Dip the rim in sugar to coat. In a stainless-steel shaker full of crushed ice, combine the vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry juice, and citrus juices. Shake. Strain the contents into a martini glass. Serve with a lemon or lime twist.

Merry’s note: You can make this for a group by multiplying the ingredients by the number of people you plan to serve and mixing it in a pitcher.