[blank]As I sat upstairs at my desk this morning, I heard my youngest son come home, laughing and chatting with friends.
It is the school holidays here, and they are making the most if it! Places to go, people to see, you know how it is . Yesterday evening they went to a pre-Halloween party and a sleep over. It seems that the morning-after party was happening here with an improvised brunch.
I popped down to greet them then left them to it. They are 16 years old now, and the last thing they want is me fussing over them in the kitchen.[blank]
[white]Someone plugged in the music, and as Jim started cracking eggs and frying bacon I could hear him telling his pals where to find plates, flatware and orange juice. One of the boys volunteered to light a fire, and before long the house was humming with the quiet(-ish) sound of a bunch of contented teenagers and the delicious aroma of an open fire and morning bacon.
I couldn’t resist going down to enjoy the scene, and found six of them around a sparsely laid dining room table, eating well and cracking jokes. Magic.
As I turned away from the room, I couldn’t help but think of all the dinners and lunches and brunches that have taken place in that room, all the mouths that have been fed, the lively discussions, the meals enjoyed.[blank]
[white]And I wondered about the chemistry of successful entertaining – for that is what my son, Jim, was doing. It may just have been eggs and bacon, with orange juice and muffins, he still laid on a meal for friends.
I, like most of you, love to lay a pretty table for friends, to set the scene. I love the candlelight, the sparkling glasses the flowers on the table, the champagne, but this morning there was none of that. And it didn’t matter one bit.[blank]
[white]So what are the most important things? If you think back to the best meals you have laid on or been invited to. The most memorable dinners, the most wonderful lunch. What was it that made it work?
Was it the amazing food, or the scintillating conversation? The soft music or a guest with a particular gift as a raconteur? Was it a big dinner for 10 or twelve, or a quiet dinner for four?
Personally I can remember dinners for the way the table was laid, or the choice of menu, but the ones that really stick in my mind, that I still recall now and then, are the ones where we laughed and talked through the night, and simply enjoyed the pleasure of good company.[blank]
photo 2 via google