How many people remember Gourmet Magazine? We use to receive it monthly and it had all manner of recipes with all kinds of strange ingredients you knew would not be on the shelf of your local grocery store.
Those were the days when we would give dinner parties and try to replicate one of the recipes in Gourmet. We went through a lot of effort, me shopping for the mystery ingredients and Will cooking it all.
Then came Martha Stewart and we were now on another level all together, it took me quite a bit of time to realize that she had a staff of 50 behind her in the kitchen, house, garden to do all those little simple chores. You never saw them and no mention was ever made of them, but if you tried to do something she suggested you quickly realized that you needed days of preparation in order to achieve a decent level. Then came Bon Appétit and then America’s Test Kitchen with Christopher Kimball, love that show on PBS.
With those dinner parties and luncheons, table setting was also important, the right flowers for the centre of the table, linens and dishware to accompany the food, crystal glasses, silverware, plate or sterling. I use to spend a lot of time on thinking about the details. I still do some planning but it is a lot simpler now.
We did a lot of those dinner parties throughout the years and did entertain but that was a different time and we did have people to help with the service at table, cooking, cleaning etc.
I would not think of doing any of this nowadays, fashion has changed, everyone is more in favour of simpler dishes and smaller portions, people also do not drink as much. Many only drink wine, cocktails are out and after dinner drinks are no longer offered. We also entertain differently more casual and relaxed.
Though I still like to cook something special and try a new recipe, I am just not willing to spend the time we use to spend in the preparation. Well prepared, good food does not need to be complicated to please. Each meal on a daily basis is simpler but all are made from scratch and we have resisted so far the frozen entrées or processed can foods. My motto is If I have to eat it, then it should be good. When we have guests we always try to surprise them with a dish they never had at our house, no repeats and no take-out.
I still like a good bottle of wine and will go to some effort to find what is best but at reasonable price.
Simple is good and still looks beautiful! Next weekend we are having friends over to celebrate our first Winter visit to PEI one year ago this month, this is when we decided to move here. The menu will be gourmet pizza with various toppings, I asked our guests what type of pizza they like, some are vegan and others have toppings they really like so will try to please all. We will have wine paired depending on the flavours. It will be all about conversation, good food, wine and the moment.
Tomorrow Sunday our friends will skate across the street from our house on the improvised skating rink, it is fairly cold right now, the ice is like a polished mirror. I told them to come to our place afterwards for hot chocolate, I have a reserve of two flavours Chocolate truffle and white chocolate to warm them up. It should be fun.