Mindy Kaling loves romantic comedies so much, she made it a core quality of her character on The Mindy Project. Fortunately, Kaling treats her IRL friends to the same experience at every opportunity. Case in point: Kaling's You've Got Mail themed dinner party is a rom-com fanatic's dream come true. While Dr. Mindy Lahiri's life played out like an unconventional rom-com on six seasons of the Hulu show, Kaling's Nora Ephron pun-filled menu is something her sitcom character would aspire to, but never quite successfully pull off. Kaling, on the other hand, is like a literary hostess come to life. Even an accidental one.
Mere days after reportedly giving birth to her daughter Katherine, the writer, producer, and performer invited the important women in her life to her home for not just a dinner party, but the dinner party. From the invitation alone, it's obvious it was an event worthy of writer Ephron's most well-drawn characters. The dinner offered an appetizer, a main course, dessert, and drinks, all themed after Ephron classics and peppered with punny references. Only someone as obsessed with Ephron's work and as talented as Kaling could pull off something so delightful and whimsical — with the exception of the women who work for her, whom she credits for the brilliance. Though she tries to have a party for the women in her life ever year, it will be difficult for her 2018 party to top this You've Got Mail themed masterpiece at her house.
As the song goes, you get by with a little help from your friends, and Kaling had plenty. Considering she recently gave birth, began to promote Ocean's 8, and the holidays are around the corner, it was understandably difficult for her to arrange her annual party. Two of the "young women" Kaling typically hosts the party for decided to make it easy on her: They helped conceive and design the romantic comedy feast, and ensured it was possible to pull off in the writer's own home. Kaling generously credited the two for their work with a long Instagram caption:
"I usually do a holiday dinner with the young women that work with me but I’ve had a busy week! So they brought the holiday dinner to me. It’s a You’ve Got Mail Norah Ephron-themed holiday dinner, cooked and orchestrated by @asekar95 and @yo_its_hmo and it’s happening TONIGHT at my house. Look at this menu! Look at these Nora Ephron deep cuts! (Maybe for dessert we will have coffee... Patricia? Patricia’s amazing. Patricia makes coffee nervous.)"
It's unclear how much of the work was done by Kaling herself, but to hear her tell it, she had little to no involvement in the planning. Like it or not, she's raising the next generation of witty, creative, rom-com loving writers right in front of her eyes.
The invitation has all the hallmarks of a Nora Ephron romantic comedy classic. At the bottom of the invite, guests can see the New York City skyline silhouetted against the card. The top is adorned with a playful NYC taxi and the AOL icon (RIP, AIM) as an homage to Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks' correspondence in You've Got Mail. Of course, that's just the beginning. In case you can't spot all the puns for yourself, let's take a moment to unpack them.
When Harry Met Sally... makes an appearance on the invite with the meal's tagline — the iconic "I'll have what she's having," delivered at Katz's Delicatessen by director Rob Reiner's own mother — as well as the "High Maintenance" soup, Dark Side Chicken, and Pie à la Sally. (The film's heroine is a famously fussy eater, as seen above.) Harry has a theory about high maintenance and low maintenance women, and talks extensively about his "dark side" in the film. Outside of When Harry Met Sally, Brinkley was Nora Ephron's beloved dog, and the spiced apple cider is her own published recipe. The rest of the meal includes various puns on You've Got Mail, including Ryan's bookstore and Hanks' and Ryan's screen names in the film.
If you're gonna hang with Mindy Kaling, you've gotta roll like Mindy Kaling. A tasteful, artistic invitation to a dinner party where she doesn't have to cook or travel and just gets to appreciate the genius of her mentees? Fans will have what she's having, please.