Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Experience

The obvious reason I adore food is to savor flavors.  The time and location are typically of no consequence as long as the cuisine is delicious.  As many know, often the best food is actually found in hole-in-the-wall joints where patrons rub elbows around a possibly dirty, circa 1978 table that probably hasn't moved since the place opened.  These establishments are the gems of the culinary world...nothing fussy - just fresh, homemade, tasty food.

Now having said all of this, sometimes I just love a completely gorgeous table that begs a lingering, four-course experience accented with a delicate glass of pinot noir and a cozy cup of coffee to accompany dessert.  I allow myself to melt into the chair (figuratively...I'm still vertical) and offer up all my senses to drink in the atmosphere.

The best of both worlds, in my mind, is to create a special, beautiful, and foremost delicious experience in the comfort of home.  Who achieves this with a perfectly tasteful, simple and yet still casual/unfussy approach?  Well, Ina Garten, of course.  I mean, who wouldn't want to dine at this table next to fun, food-loving friends for hours on end?  Clearly, I do.

Ina table - town and country
Picture courtesy of Town and Country
 Here's another shot with her signature orange tulips adding effortless freshness.  What is that wine there?  Whatever it is, I want some.

Picture courtesy of House Beautiful
  Another picture of her "barn".  (Aside for those unaware: this woman has a barn that was built solely for entertaining.  This pig would be very comfortable in that barn.)

Picture courtesy of House Beautiful
Don't get me wrong here; it's still all about the food and the people gathered to eat it.  If either is upstaged by the table or setting, I think the point has been missed.  But putting a bit of thought into the dining atmosphere does seem to provide an extra welcome to friends coming into your home, as well as an opportunity for creativity.  While I find it blissful to imagine it, you don't even need a barn in the Hamptons to do it.


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