Eating is so intimate. It’s very sensual. When you invite someone to sit at your table and you want to cook for them, you’re inviting a person into your life.
Each summer for many years, my husband and I organize an event to bring the community together for a pop-up dinner party. Fashioned after the French white summer dinner parties, it is held outside in beautiful open space. Guests bring their food, wine, service wares along with beautiful decorations, and each group sets up a magnificent table. It is so inspiring to see the creativity expressed! Although it is a ton of work, it is a fabulous time for all who attend. If you want to join us, just check out Brandywine in White.
What I love most is the splendor of bringing people together at the table. When I was young, the dinner table was the most important place in the house. Aside from being a space where we gathered to eat (there were 12 kids in my family!), it was a place where conversations happened and manners were quietly learned. I still remember having great fun seeing how extraordinary I could set the table, learning the placement of the utensils and gathering some flowers for a centerpiece. It was all so simple, but it taught me about life’s little luxuries that really don’t cost a thing. The dialogue and debate around the table was as filling as the food. If you were missing, you would be quickly summoned because there was no excuse that could be more important.
As much as things have changed, this is one part of my day that continues…whether the gathering be for one, two, or three hundred, there is magic when people come together at the table. My mom always made room for unexpected guests. “We’ll just add more water to the soup,” she would jokingly say. And like a mystical loaves and fishes, there would be more than enough to go around. The spirit of hospitality and generosity is essential to our way of life, and I believe these acts of bringing people together for a meal can transform our world…one table at a time. I invite you to observe the rituals you have around the table and see how you can create your own magic. Let me know how it goes!
photo credits: Edwin Williams Photography of our last Brandywine in White event