What’s Your Splendid Table?

Chris Ann getting her book signed by Lynne Rosetta Kasper and Sally Swift It’s never good to valet park with a blue mini van, so we didn’t.  We parked in the back lot and walked to The Splendid Table’s book event at the Room & Board.  It was lovely to be out with my husband and at an “event”.  My goal tonight was to introduce myself to the authors, Lynne Rossetto Kasper & Sally Swift.  They are the hosts and creators of their national radio show, The Splendid Table, and authors of the book, How to Eat Supper.   We eventually found chairs and some wine and settled down to listen to their conversation around sharing food and entertaining.  Lynn Rossetto Kasper started out with a statement that I loved.  She said, that  when we come to the table together,  it is one of the only times we, “sit and look across the table at another human being.”   That, I believe is the premise of what we are trying to do with our blog and cookbook.  To share both our experience at the table, the food, the atmosphere, the gathering, but also, the memory and magic of sitting down with another human being.

Part of their little chat was audio feed of different celebrities and their tips for splendid times around the table.   The first celebrity, was Nora Ephron, her tip was you should never feed your guest fish.  Fish she explained goes down in a “jiffy” and you should serve something that would be painfully slow to eat and that you have to saw away at.  An interesting little bit of gossip here is that she is currently working on a movie starring Meryl Streep based on the book,  Julie & Julia:  365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment, from blogger, Julie Powell.   It just so happens I am more than three quarters of the way through this book.  It is a good read for anyone who would like to know what it would be like to cook through the whole entire Julia Child’s, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.   Then, we listened to Isaac Mizrahi’s tip, which was to bookend your evening with a festive drink and a memorable dessert.   I am a firm believer in festive drinks to get a party started.    Finally, they ended with  Amy Sedaris, who wrote the book,  I like You:  Hospitality Under the Influence.   Her tip:  don’t invite “barnacles”.

Their presentation had ended and now I had to do my “job”.  So, clutching my newly purchased and splendid cookbook I approached Sally Swift.  I introduced myself as a mom of four and having a passion for food and writing, have begun to embark on blogging.  Did she have any tips for me?  Her answer:  I don’t read the blogs.  Hilarious.  My first semi-interviewy thingy and she doesn’t read blogs!  Well, since I was armed with preparation, I shot back then my next question, which was really more of what I was after anyway.  Did she, the famous nationally syndicated and profession food authority and author have her own special and memorable supper memory?  She paused.  Meanwhile, as fifty or so people were lining up to have their cookbooks signed, I was having my “I have a real job and it’s not laundry” moment in my mind, then she answered.  It turns out, when she was in college,  someone who was very influential in teaching her a lot about cooking had her and some friends to dinner .   This host had purchased each guest their own individual wine glass as a gift for the evening.  She had been touched that this person had gone to the effort, and thoughtfulness, and expense to do this.  This left a memory of a special meal.    What Sally shared with me shows that surprising generosity of spirit can make a night.  And, a good meal memory can leave a lasting life memory.