March 10, 2017

On Entertaining

My mother is a person to admire. Her mirrored coffee table is ever-adorned with fresh flowers — sometimes roses, sometimes hydrangeas, sometimes tulips. For her Friday morning Bible study group, she puts out the prettiest coffee glasses and a platter of scones. Growing up, she always set the table for our family of five, and on holidays, she makes our home feel like a scene from a Nancy Meyers movie: jazz music, tealight candles, a cheese tray and stocked bar cart. If one of us has a birthday, she is sure to find a beautiful card and wrap each gift with a bow.

Now that I’m (kind of) a grown-up, I am in awe of my mom’s thoughtfulness. I neither cook nor entertain, and on occasion, I wonder if these are skills to be learned, or if I simply didn’t get the gene. Yesterday, I made a grand attempt: It was my boyfriend’s birthday, and to make him feel special, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and surprise him with a dinner party for two.

My idea of cooking is scorching frozen vegetables on the stovetop or microwaving a bowl of oatmeal. For Andrew, though, I planned a menu with some of his favorite things: crab cakes, salmon, salad, peanut butter cheesecake from Sweet Mandy B’s and the crème de la crème, Veuve Clicquot.

I was a sorry sight at Whole Foods the night before: “How many people does a 6-ounce fillet serve? What sauce goes with crab cakes? What do you mean you don’t have any crab cakes?!” I didn’t own a pan, so I had to acquire one of those. I bought flowers, too, and they were dead (yes, dead!) by the next morning. It was a comedy of errors, and I probably called my mom ten times. She graciously gave me step-by-step instructions for preparing the food; I took copious amounts of notes.

In the end, the evening was a success. We listened to Leon Bridges and sat at my table by the window (it was the first time I’ve ever dined there!). I decorated it as my mom would, and truly, I couldn’t have pulled it off without her guidance.

Happy birthday to Andrew, and thanks to my mom for her encouragement.