Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dining Club - Philosophy of Abundant Tasting

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. -----Harriet Van Horn
Our first meal was Greek.  We begged Sofia and Mark to choose Greece as they are incredible cooks, Sofia grew up in a Greek American neighborhood, and they had lived in Greece for several years as pistachio farmers.   
The menu  involved a several appetizers, soup, salad, two main course dishes, bread, vegetable, and a lovely walnut cake for dessert.   Greek wineOuzo and Greek coffee with a reading of our grounds completed the meal.  The first club meeting was a great success.
That was our last meal of some moderation.  
An innocent error brought us to our current state of multiple offerings. Our next meal was German and wanting to make desserts that no one in our club had ever eaten I also wasn't sure if they would be any good.  The solution was to make three desserts in small amounts so that everyone got a taste of every thing. (Cognac Pflaumenpudding - Brandied Plum Mold, Munchner Bierereme - Munich Beer Creme, Sauerlander Becher - White Grape Custard) If one or two were interesting but not attractive, no problem!  We would have the others.  The same thing happened with the entrees and with the appetizers. They all were good, in fact far better than good.  The food was enticing and intriguing. This was the birth of the practice of offering many foods and small portions in each part of the meal.

Now at each meal, depending on food density, time, and our own curiosity, we serve:
Appetizers: 3 to 6  (brought by one couple)
Host couple serves:
Salad: 0-3 
Breads and spreads
Entrees: 2 -3 mixed, fish, animal, vegetarian
Side dishes: 0-3
Deserts: 1-3 (brought by one couple) 
Beverages: wines, beers, juices, teas, coffees and national drinks. Usually 2-3 choices and brought by one couple.

The idea is to taste and enjoy but leave room for the next courses which are spread over four to five hours. This system works for us; other resources on creating a dinner party and great menu tips fill the internet and will help you plan.

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