Dionysus was a demigod in Greek myth. Unlike the stuffier, self important gods and half gods in Greek mythology, Dionysus knew how to party. After all, he was the god of wine and merrymaking. Those who worshipped Dionysus, or Bacchus if you like your gods with a Roman flavor, did so by throwing wild parties that included uninhibited dancing, lots of food, and music to jam to. It was like the artist who was formerly, and is now known as Prince time travelled back to ancient Greece and gave a concert featuring “Let’s Go Crazy.”
You don’t have to be into Greek religions to know a little some-some about partying. Just go to any frat house or popular drinking joint on a Friday night to see what I mean. Having a wild blowout just takes a bit of determination.
Of course, fall is the time when lots of bashes are given, from the traditional Thanksgiving get-together and Octoberfest, to impromptu keggers and sports themed shindigs. If there’s going to be some serious partying, it’s bound to happen round this time of year.
While I’ve attended my fair share of festivities, I’ve never given a party. Oh, I’ve helped organized many dos, birthday parties, and dinner socials, but I’ve never hosted a gathering. This has not been by design. The stars have never aligned to where I either needed to or wanted to throw a party. However, there are forces in my life that may change all of that, and I may soon find myself hosting my very first soiree. (I figure I’ll start small and work my way up to bigger bashes.)
One thing I’ve learned from the more successful parties I’ve attended is that it doesn’t take much to throw a decent do. You really just need a few basic ingredients to get things moving:
Drink: What you serve up depends on the type of party being given. Friday Fight Nights require a variety of beers. A dinner social needs wines. Late night confessionals between close friends are lubricated with liberal amounts of scotch, rum, whiskey, vodka, or other hard liquors.
Food: Again, what you serve depends on the function. Hamburgers for Summer lawn parties, turkey and dressing for thanksgiving dinners, salmon for quiet dinner socials.
Song: Music can set or sour the mood of a party. Think of it as the soundtrack for the festivities.
Since I’m going to aim low for my first gathering I’m going to start off with wine. Unfortunately, my knowledge of wine is limited. I know that it’s made from various kinds of grapes into various types from reds to whites, sweet to dry, and if you drink too much of it you may get sick-drunk and wind up praying to Porcelinus, the God of the commode. Then you’ll wake up the next morning in a strange place with a horrible (“Oh Gawd! Please let me die!”) pounding headache and wondering hoping if what you think transpired the night before was a dream. (Of course, I wouldn’t know anything about that.)
So, to help me cull through the vast varieties of vino I’m going to turn to Wine.com’s wonderful iOS app that happens to also be free.
The creators of Wine.com for iPad must have taken cues from the best wine makers because the app is full bodied, unpretentious, and easy on the eyes. The main screen lets you search for wines types, styles, regions, then sort by price, name, and more. Winery labels appear along with the winemaker’s notes, and cost. Tap the label and the wine’s profile appears, showing details of the wine’s lineage, the winery’s profile, and critic’s notes. There’s even a little map to show you, geographically, where the wine was created.
There are tabs for wine-related news, sending wine as gifts, a place to save wines you may be interested in for pursuing later (My Cave), and an option to find Wine.com deals.
This is a catalog, really, so it doesn’t offer advice on which wine to serve with which food. But you know what? I don’t care. I’ve got hundreds of wines literally at my finger tips, and it’s all about experimentation and discovery.
Check out Wine.com for iPad, then check out the wines.
Food is next, and while I am comfortable in the kitchen my experience is lacking when it comes to cooking items that are unfamiliar to me, or cooking things in ways I’m not used to. This is where 170,000+ Recipes comes in.
170,000+ Recipes is an iOS app that covers a lot of culinary ground. As the name implies it offers a bunch of recipes, but it will also help you plan a menu for every day of the week.
Unfortunately you have to upgrade to the pro version to get grocery lists created and other niceties, but the huge list of recipes should keep you occupied for quite some time.
I enjoy how the app gives you an overview of the recipe, then the cooking details on another page. Keeps the screen from being cluttered.
With 170,000+ Recipes I’m sure to find something to serve.
Lastly, we have song, or music. I can just fire up some tunes from my library, maybe hit a Genius Mix. I’m not looking to get people’s rumps bumping and toes tapping, I just want something playing in the background that sounds good.
But you know what’s annoying? Hearing someone butcher a song with bad lyrics. Especially now that the lyrics to nearly every song ever written can be found on the Internet.
That’s why SoundHound is handy.
Let’s say I’m having a ‘senior moment’ and I can’t recall the name of that song by that guy that kinda goes like this:
My world’s on fire and no one can save me but you.
Strange what desire will make foolish people do.
Well, SoundHound will let me sing those words into my iPad or iPhone, then it goes out on the Internet to find songs that might match. I’m often impressed with the results. The song in question gets displayed, along with available lyrics and links to iTunes for playing or purchase. It even links up a YouTube video of the artist singing the song, if one’s available. Pretty sweet.
SoundHound is a good way to discover and rediscover music, and a great way to keep from embarrassing yourself with silly lyrics.
I think I’m ready to get my party on. Dionysus would be proud.
That’s a wrap for this week.
More food related freebies below with direct links.