Friday, April 30, 2010

I remember the first meal I served very distinctly. I was four years old and my customer was Marchie, my beloved stuffed monkey. We lived on 54th street in the theater district and my mother had just fed me lunch
when I asked if I could give Marchie some fruit salad. I expected her to say no- I knew I'd make a mess, but she said yes, and I shoveled the canned fruit into his rubber mouth,working hard to help him chew. Even at four, I remember thinking how generous that was of her.

I have entertained many many times since then.In the 80's, my boyfriend was playing Lancelot on Broadway to Richard Burton's King Arthur in the musical Camelot. Burton had taken Richard my boyfriend under his wing on tour and when they got to NYC I thought it would be nice to invite him and his gorgeous wife Susan Hunt to dinner.When I think of it now, I can't believe I had the nerve to cook for this legend and his wife.

Burton and Susan arrived promptly and sat down for hors d'ouvres. They stayed put at the couch for the next several courses because we only had a couch and coffee table. I can't remember much about the food other than absolutely everything had a heavy cream sauce and that the main course was veal with cheese[ and a heavy cream sauce]. I only now really appreciate how gracious they were to allow us the pleasure of entertaining them - poor trapped things spooning more and more cream sauce into their mouths from plates balanced on their laps.Burton was of course an amazing raconteur and it paralyzed me with pleasure to be the one he was telling stories to about "Elizabeth".No last name needed.
Again I had been given a generous gift-go ahead take a chance, dare to make a mess of it- but do it.Even as I cringe today at the sticky fruit syrup matting Marchie's fur and the rivers of thick creams, I understand what those adults in my life gave to me.


  1. Funny what reactions you can get with meals. Unfortunately, with all our schedules, we don't often get a chance for family meals. So dinners have to be planned out well in advance for when they are in sync, and don't always make for the date initially expected. We just had our "boxing day" (day after Christmas) Spanish dinner at the end of February. Also my New Years Day dinner is expected to happen towards the end of May.

    But a few weeks ago, we invited my Dad and his lady friend over for a last minute Spagetti dinner. Nothing special, just a mix sauce, Pillsbury Pizza dough "garlic-bread sticks". Wanting some sort of dessert, I rushed in the house with a bag of frozen mixed fruit and pre-made pie crust. Hurredly mixed the fruit with sugar and cinneman, scouped into ramakins, covered with crust and baked..... Instant individual cobblers less than 15 prep time. Frustrating thing, I got more reaction from that dessert than the Chocolate Pot-de-cremes that took me a couple hours to make.

  2. It's a wonderful story, and I must say I do miss a good cream sauce, alas it's not good for my middle aged spread so they say.
    In my life as in inveterate dieter, who struggles to lose a pound, I just love to cook and eat too much it seems. I always rail against those diet programs that urge you never to use food as a reward or comfort. I hate cooking with all those substitutes, they can't be as good for you as butter, cream and good olive oil. Some foods today have a list of ingredients more like a chemical list than actual food.
    I think food is inherently comforting, we should just accept it. I have so many good memories around family meals and dinner parties. Cooking scones on a Sunday is how I remember my mother. I made a batch this weekend, and they were lovely with some apricot jam and cream.

  3. You can produce some wonderful sauces without having to resort to heavy cremes.

    I plan on an roasted aparagas veg with a balsamic sauce. 2 tsp olive or canola oil, salt-pepper, 3 tbs balsamic. That's for a pound and a half of asparagas.... Roasted for 10-15 minutes. Double the amount of oil, one half to coat the asparagas, the other half to mix with the balsamic.

  4. hello Nana! Congrats on your new venture. I am so looking forward to sampling your bouboulettes - expect an order shortly! i won't be able to resist much longer. Loved your story, you must have been a bag of nerves but what an experience!
    john h.