Sunday, June 6, 2010

tabletop passions

When we first arrived in  California from London seven years ago, I met some random parent on the school yard.  We were chitchatting aimlessly, as you do, when apropos of nothing she confided:  "My passion is tabletop".  I immediately imagined, as you do, she and her husband inflagrante on their mahogany dining table.  Normally I would have said:   "EEEww, that's not a good visual!" but I was new to Oakland, maybe this was usual here in wacky East Bay? (Plus I wouldn't have said it like Hannah Montana using verbs like "visual" as a noun.)

I was relieved to realise, when she started going on about forks and plates, that her tabletop passions where just that: she loved "setting the table" as we kiwis say.

Seven years later, I get it. In this wild and crazy world where we can control nothing, setting the table nicely gives you a small sense of satisfaction. Picture shows recycled glass plates from Terrestra and as usual, in lieu of namecards I wrote names with a silver Sharpie on magnolia leaves, from the tree out the front.

Hors deuvres are triple cream cheese(whoooah, calories) from Seal Bay, New Zealand from Village Market with Feijoas and starfruit,  found, amazingly, at Safeway. Feijoas have a wonderful sweet and sour taste that is unlike any other fruit. We try a slice dropped into our glasses of Pol Roget, brought by Gary and Ross.  Farid, Mary (my only kiwi friend here) arrive. Farid brought his wine in his caramel leather wine bag . You know when you see that bag you are in for a treat. This time it carries Carruades de Lafite 1999 from France, and Bricco Manzoni Langhe 2001, from Italy.

Mary read on my blog that I love purple (too true) and accordingly wore a deep purple top and handed me sweet peas from her garden, the colour of amethyst. She says they are great to grow as so easy, die back then come back stronger in the spring. She always calls me "my dear",  old time kiwi.

 I made pork tenderloin, marinated and cooked in raspberry chipotle (use the Fisher and Wieser sauce) a no fail sweet and spicy dish.  And butternut squash whole cut in half with apple puree over the top. Cy (six) cut lettuces  from his vege garden which seems to have shot up in just days. Ross is from the south so he bought dirty rice, a Cajun dish. You can find the recipe in  Craig Claiborne's Southern Cooking. The "dirty" colour comes from from the chopped liver and gizzards. I was delighted to hear that as I love innards of all sorts. Has a hint of hint of fire and a lot of earthiness.  Even better for  breakfast.

Here's the tabletop debris the following morning. Look at me, performance artist. How very Tracy Emin. I could charge people to watch my dinner parties, followed by next morning clean-up.  Brilliant!

Not sure why, but I always find a pair of my shoes on the table the next morning. Often they are not the same ones I wore the night before. I suspect a stage in the evening is reached when I simply must show off some of my shoes.

Or maybe it's their passion for tabletop that gets the shoes trotting down here by themselves in the middle of the night...


  1. What a fab tabletop! Wish we could have come to your amazing dinner party! Plus you know you've had a good time when you find a pair of shoes on the table the next morning... and have no idea how they got there. Bet you were having a good old boogie among the bottles of wine and magnolia leaves! Love from your long lost English friend Catherine XXXX

  2. Love to hear from you Kat, come over for dinner any night - we're just a 12 hour flight away! Jody

  3. Oh heck we well remember Farid and his wine bag. We were convinced that we didnt pay the taxi driver at the end of the night and had to call up and apologise to the babysitter the next day. And after 3 years we still aren't brave enough to return to the restuarant You were lucky to get away with shoes on the table....


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...