Last week I hosted a dinner party and chose this favorite Julia Child quote to print at the bottom of the menu:
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” Indeed!
While I was trying to track down the exact quote, I came across another pearl of wisdom from Julia:
“Remember, ‘No one’s more important than people’! In other words, friendship is the most important thing–not career or housework, or one’s fatigue–and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”
– Julia Child, My Life in France
Julia’s reminder is an apt one — especially at this time of year when the stress of the holidays can keep us from truly enjoying quality time with friends and family. One of the very best ways to reaffirm the bond of friendship is with a leisurely dinner party.
In this particular case, I lucked out and didn’t even have to cook! Thanks to a winning bid in a charity auction, John Barricelli was our chef for the evening. John is the owner of the SoNo Baking Co — renown for its artisan breads, French pastries and fabulous coffee. John trained at the Culinary Institute of America and went on to work at Martha Stewart Productions where he eventually landed a regular spot on Martha’s show.
He is also the author of two great cookbooks.
John gave me the option of French or Italian and I opted for an Italian feast. The menu we came up with included: shrimp with white wine, garlic and pepe rosa, traditional bolognese, a simple salad, roasted pork loin served over polenta and individual servings of pear and cranberry crisp. He spoiled us by bringing some of his epic focaccia breads to enjoy with the appetizers and a tray of his divine mini tarts to cap off dessert.
With John at the helm in the kitchen, I was left to focus on my favorite task — setting the table. Longing for a little break from color and pattern after Halloween, I chose neutral plates (with a little shine for glamor!), white flowers and lots of candlelight.
A gardenia at each place setting…
…and just a hint of color thanks to rose hips on the buffet.
Here, the individual pear and cranberry crisps waiting to be finished off with a little crème fraîche.
Finally, John baked mini pumpkin and cranberry loaves to fit on the “Friendship” trays that I had planned to send everyone home with.
Although this “Friendsgiving” was a little more involved than your average dinner party, a more simplified supper would certainly have done the trick. Take-out would be just fine in a pinch too. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Photos: CT, Julia Child, SoNo Baking Co
|HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?||HELLO 2016!|
|HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?|