Saturday, April 28, 2012


Navarin d'agneau printanier

So many times I have spent hours of planning and concentration and presentation, and then, in a fit of pique, spoiled my family's and my appetite with an angry, resentful comment at the dinner table.  What is that craziness about?  Please tell me I'm not alone.

Or gone to a fancy, high end restaurant and by the next day forgotten what I'd eaten.

And then there are other nights, where the guests sparkle, the conversation sings, the music incorporates the past into the present, and the food surrounds us, bringing one more sense, one more connection.

I don't think that magic has a recipe, because surprise is part of the delight.  But I would say it has a few components:

1) The cook must love what she is doing.  It comes out in the food.
2) There must be time.  Just time.  You decide how to use it.
3) Your guests must want to be there.  No guilt-filled obligations, no courtesy visits, no mandated quality time.

What are your magical meal components?  Or memorable meals? I'd love to know---


  1. Hmmm---was it something I didn't say?

  2. No, it's not you. I don't receive e-mails when other's blog. I just discovered your up on the Goddess side bar.

    I have thrown great parties and piss parties. I try to get people to drink because the food usually isn't anything to right home about (bowl of peanut M&Ms. I also try to get a few great story tellers to come and not drink. If they drink too much, you can't shut them up and that can work against you. Think french exits. I go for pot lucks and lots of twinkle lights. I'm going to throw a party again when it warms up. I know I keep saying that but I do.

  3. All I know is that no matter what I do, my unworthy dining companions co

  4. Sorry. Technical difficulties. The point is, a least one offspring will complain. They have opposite tastes. They do that on purpose.

  5. It's hard not to be happy when dining on Navarin d'agneau printanier.

    It is magic. And one other ingredient, and maybe this is what you meant by #2, but there should be something free flowing and flexible -- a chance for the evening to develop its own personality, regardless of original plans.

  6. I think that good wine and good conversation are key. I too have spoiled many a fantastic meal with picking a fight or pouting (like when the fantastic meal sits on the table for 20 minutes before everyone will come sit down . . . )

  7. My favourite meal was Nachos Rancheros to start followed by beef and cheese Burrito with salad and a side of refried beans. Served with a pitcher of Dortmunder Union beer with glasses that were covered in ice as they kept them in the freezer. this was a Mexican restaurant called Cucina in Bradford that is sadly now closed down. I went there for fifteen years.

  8. Dear TVH: My condolences. Really. I lived in France for a couple of years and when I went to Amsterdam I discovered Cafe Pacifico--I was thrilled. The food is even more amazing at its country of origin.
    Bec! Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone!
    AH--Absolutely, flexibility. Rigidity is what spoils our family meals (see above)Goddess Margaret: Do they really do it on purpose? Really? Maybe it's time they learned to cook. I don't mean that to sound snarky. PA: Throw the party! Let me pencil it in!

  9. I have four or five great menus that are fabulous. My favorite is a grill-smoked Mongolian Pork Chop that is in the Mustards (Napa Valley) Cookbook. Mmmmmmmmm. And always serve a great wine with great food.

  10. 7: Sounds perfect to me--must check it out--

  11. Thanks for noticing, kiddo--!

  12. I must really like it because I said it twice