My mother, Rosemary, was a wonderful hostess to all who entered our home. Her father had "warned" her about being careful who she invited to break bread at her table. Alas, my mother was born to cook. I am not sure if her mother actually taught her how, but in the books she wrote about her family and her Italian/Sicilian heritage many of her memories were centered around food. So if you were invited to eat at my parents' table, rest assured you would be treated to the most delectable delights my mother could prepare. She prepared traditional favorites of manicotti, lasagna, veal parmigana, stuffed squid, anise cookies, tradtional Italian desserts with figs... carved with delicates designs... so delicate that she had used her trusty x-acto knife to carve swirls and slits so that the aroma of figs filled our home. Hustle and bustle... long before we called them "tablescapes", Mother had my sister and me setting the table with the correct forks and spoons... knives turned appropriately. She would already have the centerpiece on the table. Amazingly she would have dinner parties that would sometimes happen after she had come home from a long day at the office in the Oceanography and Meterology Department at Texas A&M. How did she do it? I have her boxes of recipes, notes she made, wonderful loose-leaf notebooks with recipes, many stained from sauces and olive oil... and knowing that those were the best recipes to use. I'd be remiss to do what Julie did in Julie & Julia when the most scrumptious and memorable recipes are in this box I am eyeing right now. A challenge I need to consider. Thank you, Mother, for preparing me so well. I am as fearless in the kitchen as you.
I should mention that the hutch and dining room table are in my breakfast nook now... and I am actually sitting at the table as I speak. The large white serving dishes on the hutch are now mine, as is the mug at the top of the hutch.