No more entertaining guests..Our typical menu when entertaining guests...



Our made-from-scratch banana cream pie with meringue topping
(Note the watermelon in the background for size reference)
We haven't had many guests visiting lately.  Our house is upside down in varying stages of packing, organizing and rearranging in almost every room.   

Living on a lake all these years, we have frequently entertained friends either for a party of few or of many, or for a couple or small group.

Our 6" tall fresh strawberry creme, puff pastry Napoleon
As a passionate and enthusiastic cook/baker, coupled with Tom's expertise as a sous chef, bottle washer and host, it was always pure pleasure to prepare the menu, shop for the ingredients and setting a well coordinated table with fresh flowers, linen napkins, matching placemats, and fine dinnerware.  

Prior to the arrival of our guests, we'd print a colorful copy of the menu, each placed neatly at the individual place settings in an effort to enhance the experience for our guests.

Here is one of the many menus we saved, on this occasion presented on pretty holiday stationery:

Menu Holiday Gathering 
of Favorite Clients & Friends
December 16, 2006

First Course - Appetizer
Brie Cheese with Apricot in Puff Pastry
Homemade Pickled Herring Salad 
with Sesame Honey Crisps
Second Course
Shrimp Cocktail with Tangy Cocktail Sauce 
& Lemon Wedge
Third Course
Two Soups Served, Swirled in a Single Bowl Topped 
with Buttery 
Sautéed Morel Mushrooms:
  • Creamy Lobster Bisque
Vichyssoise, served warm
Fourth Course
Salad with Belgian Endive, Radicchio & Hearts 
of Palm 
with Gorgonzola, Walnuts
& Lightly Sprinkled with a Delicate 
Raspberry Vinaigrette
Fifth Course
Fillet Mignon with Portabella Burgundy Sauce
Steam Kings Crab Legs with Clarified Butter
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
French Green Beans, Drizzled 
with Lemon Tarragon Butter

Sixth Course - Dessert
Classic Homemade Vanilla Crème Brule
Goldschlager, Cinnamon Flavored Liqueur 
with Flecks of Gold
Cappuccino with Chocolate Curls

By 2:00 am, guests will have departed with full bellies, slightly tipsy from copious glasses of well chosen red or white wine while Tom and I, smiling from ear to ear, rush about the kitchen putting everything back in order to nary a dirty dish or glass in the sink or a crumb on the floor. 

Our guests appeared to have had a great time and we were content to have shared our home, our food and our wine along with a certain sense of ease we somehow acquired over the years as host and hostess.  Expensive? Yes!  Worth it? Yes!  

We've always justified the expense of entertaining due to the fact that we seldom spent money on vacations, dining out or purchasing carry out dinners (once or twice a year at the most) preferring fresh, homemade meals.

Last August, we both became ardent advocates of the low inflammation diet which includes committing to become wheat free, grain free, starch free, sugar free, totally gluten free and low carb.  

In the past, I frequently baked desserts just for the two of us finding as much enjoyment in the preparation as in the process of eating the delectable result.

So here we are, five months and six days away from our departure to a new and adventuresome life.  No longer will we entertain guests as we continue to pack, examining the threads of our lives and of our memories, leaving so much behind, taking so much with us.  

No longer will we sit in these over sized comfy chairs with an generous portion of homemade pie on a pretty plate, languishing in the simplicity of our homemade lives, requiring so little, gaining so much. 

We'll make new friends along the way.  We'll prepare homemade dinners with the simple foods of the area to share with the new friends minus the perfectly pressed and folded linen napkins, placemats and pretty plates.  

Family and old friends will visit from time to time.  We'll make their favorite dinners, reminiscent of a time past, scouring the local farms and markets for the appropriate ingredients in an effort to recreate the familiarity.  

We'll smile as we tidy up someone else's kitchen, wash someone else's plates, wipe up the crumbs from someone else's floor, all the while hoping that our guests have had a great time.  

We'll be content to have shared someone else's home with the food and the wine typical for the location with that same certain sense of ease we somehow acquired over the years as host and hostess.

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