Over the weekend, I hosted a Girls' Brunch for a few friends and something one of my friends said got me thinking.
The few days before my friends were to come over, I began to think of what I would serve for brunch. I wanted to keep it simple but delicious and also something everyone was sure to like. I settled on homemade croissants, coffee, and clementines. The day before the brunch, I made the dough and the butter block for the croissants and throughout the day took the dough back out of the refrigerator again and again to roll and fold until I had completed the necessary six turns to make croissants that were flakey and shattered properly with the first bite. There's nothing quite like after a lifetime of eating chewy grocery store bakery croissants, that a proper made croissant shatters in a embarrassingly messy spray of crumbs and the whole thing nearly melts in your mouth, is there?
One of my friends came a little early, just as I was sauteeing onions and green peppers for a fritatta. She helped with the vegetables while I quickly drove across town to pick up another friend. When we returned, I continued making the frittata while we all chattted. The friend from across town set down her supplies for a craft project we were doing after brunch and noticed my dining room table.
There wasn't anything special about it but I had tried to arrange the necessary things--plates, butter, jam-- attractively and the I had made little piles of clementines of three on the bottom and one on top to make a simple, informal centerpiece of sorts. It wasn't much and had there been any lick of green thing outside you can be sure I'd have run out and snipped it to add to the meager display. My friend remarked upon the table and its clementines-as-decoration--and referenced my table from the last Girl's Night I hosted. I felt a little sheepish because I felt she was gently making fun of me but then I thought about it a moment and tried to explain. It's not complicated.
I like things that give me pleasure. There is no need for them to be elaborate,because the simple pile of bright, cheery clementines on a dark wood table makes me smile and so does a single flower stuck in a mason jar full of water. I want to share their simple beauty.
Forks fanned out in a semicircle around a stack of plates, napkins folded in pinwheels, rows of shining wineglasses on the sideboard. These sorts of things can make ordinary things look pleasant to the eye as they serve their purpose.
All of these things are a small gesture from me to those I've invited into my house that says 'You, my friend, are important to me. I want to share my humble home and things with you and make you smile and feel welcome.'
It is the same when I cook and bake from scratch except this time I am saying.... 'You, my friend--my family member--My Loved One, are important to me. I want to share this thing I've made with thought and love with you and fill your tummy with delicious things that will nourish you body and soul for days to come.''