I cooked lunch again on Sunday: I’m working on a food project at the moment, and it’s a splendid way in which to get to see my friends, and get some work done at the same time. January may be a calmer month, but certainly doesn’t seem to be a quiet one this year: I’ve seen more people this month than I did in party-happy December.
I also get huge pleasure from setting a pretty table, and using all the glass and china I have collected over the years, with added help from presents, my travels, and lovely donations from my mother’s cupboards.
Ikea bowls, vintage silver, Rosenthal plates, family crystal bowls, Habitat wine glasses, old silver, Dartington Champagne flutes, Lalique and Anthropologie votives, Crate & Barrel glass candlesticks, Graham & Green water bottles, second hand carafes, 1930s Noritake porcelain: it’s a mish mash of styles that I love. My tablecloth was in the laundry, so I just used a clean bed sheet.
That being said, my philosophy is that entertaining shouldn’t be an effort: so long as the table is laid before the guests arrive, it doesn’t really matter what is on it, so long as there is enough cutlery, and serving spoons. Water glasses and napkins are good too, but no one ever left a lunch party because they were given a piece of kitchen roll…
It was rather a mixed bag of food, as I served what I needed to cook, rather than planning a cohesive menu, so we had roast pork, beef stew and chicken thighs. I use large deep pasta bowls for Sunday lunch, so the gravy doesn’t slop over the sides, and food seems to stay warmer. (Mine are from the seconds bin in IKEA.)
I made five puddings, including a shocking pink marbled variation on Summer Pudding. Madam spent most of lunch sitting under the table, or under my Marcel Breuer B32 chair waiting for magic pork to drop from the sky.
(That’s what happens once dry January kicks in.)
But really there is little that is more cheering than gathering a group of friends around a lunch table and laughing, drinking and talking hours after the food has been eaten, and the coffee drunk.