Country Inn “Dinner Party” Day

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“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement.  Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.”   Julia Child

Some people like to go it alone, be by themselves.  They feel most safe and happy when they are thinking their own thoughts and keeping those thoughts to themselves but other people get a tremendous pleasure out of friendship.

I happen to be one those people who enjoys cooking.  I am also one of those people who values friendship so it’s only natural I would enjoy hosting dinner parties

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So naturally when I received a letter from one of my oldest friends who now lives very far away announcing that she was coming to town and wanting to get together, well,  having a dinner party for her and her husband seemed like the right thing to do. There was talk of meeting at a restaurant, but we decided restaurants could be noisy, not the perfect place for a long, relaxing rare and special visit and you know what they say – there’s no place like home, or in this case,  there’s no place like my personal  Country Inn where I enjoy playing the  quadruple role of Innkeeper, Inn Chef, Inn Maid And Inn Guest.

So here’s what transpired.

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As Inn Chef the menu needed to be planned so I looked through my notebook of tested recipes and selected a few, but the menu needed to be approved by my guest because she was on a special gluten free diet.  I didn’t want to make her sick after all.  It was decided that baked chicken with rosemary, green beans, roasted new potatoes, salad, and fresh fruit for dessert would be just fine.

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Inn Chef (me) went off to the market and returned to the Inn with a variety of  fruit and a bag full of other  ingredients needed for the dinner.

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But before cooking could begin all the copper pots needed a once over with copper cleaner so they would sparkle.

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Meanwhile the Innkeeper (me) had much to do in order to create a lovely table. There was silver to polish,

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flowers to arrange,

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linen to select

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plus china and crystal to make ready.

All this was a labor of love and hosting a dinner party is even more than that.  Hosting a dinner party is an ART!

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Inn Chef got busy creating the marinade for the chicken.  It consisted of the juice of one lemon mixed with 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Four garlic cloves were chopped and added along with fresh rosemary sprigs.

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This marinade was poured over the chicken, salt and pepper were added and in the oven it went for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  To be sure the chicken was cooked properly an instant -read food thermometer would test the chicken to be at an internal temperature of 165 degrees before serving.

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Chef prepared the vegetables for the salad so at the last minute salad plates could be composed

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and the green beans were set into the copper pot ready for cooking.

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The table was ready for our guests and it was time to transform myself into one of those Inn Guests for the dinner party was about to begin.

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Nancy and Ken arrived bearing gifts.

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Nancy made a hand-quilted trivet for me.  I think she knew I liked to cook and entertain.  The trivet was lovely.

We went out to the porch for some drinks and nibbles and then it was time for the main event – dinner.

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My husband was ready for food and good conversation with my old friend and her husband, but they were brand new friends to him.

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Dinner was served.

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 Nancy and Ken seemed quite pleased with the presentation.  I was pleased that they seemed pleased.

Hours past as we talked and laughed and devoured our dinners.  It was so grand to be with my old friend once again and in the comfort of the Jeremiah Brown House, my personal Country Inn, not an impersonal restaurant.

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Dessert was served – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries with mint from the Inn’s herb garden.  Coffee and tea followed .  Time flew by. Before we knew it the time had come for good byes, but not before a few pictures were taken to record our happy event.

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Nancy and Carol Ann, friends for the last fifty years.  Wow!  Where did the time go?

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We captured our handsome husbands on film, men who have taken such good care of us over the years.

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And then one last picture of Nancy and Ken before they headed way back to the state of Washington.  I was so glad to see them and be able to offer them hospitality.

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The Inn Maid (me) had her work to do after the dinner party was over, but she was happy to do her part.  Cleaning up from such a fun evening is a small price to pay for so much delight.

So if you like to cook and if you enjoy friendship I hope you also enjoy entertaining.  Invite your friends over for a dinner party.  It’s a wonderful way to share the joy!

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“The pleasure in giving a dinner is mostly the pleasure of giving yourself.  The effort you take is your way of showing your company that you care about them enough to give them a good time.”    Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons

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