Fine Dining

Grandson Nathaniel wanted to cook a special meal for us. In joking about it, he said he wanted to give us a fine dining experience. I’ll let you be the judge of his success. He and John picked out the beef roast, which he began preparing the day before he cooked it. We had no deadline for the dinner, but he was working that afternoon and knew he had to have food on the table by 1. He did it easily, with no wringing of hands or histrionics. I gave him 1,000 points for that. He posed for me as he began carving the meat.

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John came when called, wearing a jacket and tie! I ran to change my Tee for a top and added earrings. You can’t see that we still had on jeans. Nathaniel lit the candles just after he poured water for John. Looking at the photo, you can see the slices of beef on the plate – perfection pink! He knew we prefer rare meat.

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The menu:

Stuffed cucumber rounds (cukes from neighbor Marla)

Rare roast beef with gravy

Yorkshire pudding

Glazed carrots

German roast coffee

The behind-the-scene picture shows our chef preparing the Yorkshire pudding.

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What does not show is all the work Nathaniel did to set a perfect table. He took apart the candelabra before polishing it. He polished the silver flatware, trivet, and coffeepot. I wish I had a before and after picture of the coffeepot. It was a wedding gift (54 years ago) and had never been used. I can say that freely, because the giver has been dead for years. John helped him find a tablecloth and make the table smaller. He would have used cloth napkins if I had found them.

Having just seen a video on etiquette the day before, we passed dishes from left to right, did not slouch, and did not put our elbows on the table. I made the egregious error of looking at my phone, thinking it was David letting me know he was on break at work. It was neighbor Joyce. Being proud of our grandson, I compounded my error and snapped a picture with my phone to send to her. Go ahead. Heap shame on my head. I deserve it.

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Ignoring my bad manners, I’ll say we ate leisurely, enjoying the food and the conversation. There was only one moment of twitching when the men’s feet tangled under the table. Smiles in place, they controlled themselves as we finished the meal with piping hot coffee.

Would you care to judge the success of our fine dining experience? I won’t give you a Christmas present, but I’ll still speak to you if you say we failed.