September 15, 2009
Every meal is a fresh experience, a chance to sit down with people you care about and enjoy wonderful food and wine. I love setting the table with the menu in mind. Let a feeling from the meal or color inspiration guide your table. I often pick an element or color that strikes me while I cook.
I did a large ladies luncheon in the garden, and cold golden borscht soup with turmeric was on the menu (you can find the recipe on the site). When I was out choosing my flowers for the table settings I found these incredible roses that exactly matched the color of the soup. How could I resist? I used the roses to accent a green bouquet and the table came together in such a beautiful way with those perfect yellow accents carried from the soup, to the flowers, to the menus. When you involve all your senses in planning a meal, creativity has a chance to elevate something basic into something extraordinary.
A lovely table is not just for special events, I enjoy putting care and thought into our everyday meals too. I almost always begin with white or beige for the placemats or tablecloth. I find that it is clean and fresh. It also serves as a neutral palette to showcase the beauty of the food, which really is the main feature of the table. White or beige also allows the flexibility to be creative when you set the table- it can be contemporary, elegant or rustic.
I tend to mix contemporary with rustic when setting the table. It is similar to the way I cook- clean, interesting without adding too much and comforting. Often, I will make more rustic, casual cuisine and plate it in a formal way, such as lamb burgers on fine china. A table has great texture and interest when you mix earthenware dishes with fine sterling silver. I find it fun to mix it up, your guests will enjoy the juxtaposition and the playful spirit.
There is such pleasure in planning a menu, cooking the meal, setting the table, decanting the wine…but my favorite part is always the consumption at the end. There is satisfaction in all the prep work being complete and allowing yourself to listen to some good music, sit down to a pretty table, surround yourself with loved ones and simply enjoy the food and wine.