Doesn’t this table look dramatic? I love to pull out the stops for Mother’s Day! It is one occasion where the beauty of the table is almost as important as the taste of the food. I was quite pleased with how it turned out.
I started with these gorgeous ruffled silk napkins and beaded coral branch napkin rings. I will freely admit that the napkins aren’t remotely practical. I don’t care. I fold them around a sturdy white “real” napkin, then allow them to look gorgeous before it’s time to eat, at which time the silk comes off and the cotton napkin inside is used. I auditioned various dishes, finally deciding on the Chinoserie pattern salad plates by Fitz and Floyd that I bought nearly 30 years ago for $20 apiece. (They are selling for more now on eBay.) I paired them with white dinner plates I bought at Ross on sale last week — 8 for $8.99. I covered the table with my handy sheer fabric, with nothing underneath. (Scroll down on this page and see how much different the same fabric looks with a red tablecloth underneath. It looks fuschia-colored!)
I tried putting the plates directly on the tablecloth, but they just didn’t pop with the white on white, so I chose a layered approach. Black and white fabric covering the table. Black placemats, white dinner plates, black patterned salad plates. Now it pops!
The flowers were another challenge. Since turquoise flowers aren’t seen in nature, I had to add a few more colors, without getting crazy. The tall vase was thin enough to work on the dinner table, but by itself it wasn’t enough, so I made two small arrangements, filling their bottoms with turquoise iridescent glass beads and encircling the vases with turquoise and fuschia silk ribbon.
The actual meal was a group project. I made my sister Cynthia’s crunchy pea salad with fresh peas and crispy bacon. Becky made the best batch of cauliflower gratin ever. I oven baked some fresh asparagus with olive oil and lemon pepper, and Michael cooked frenched racks of lamb and beef tenderloin on the Big Green Egg.
I happened to have some hot pink miniature carnations in full bloom out front. The platter looked a little dull without them, so I snuck out and picked some big leaves of basil and a few of the carnations and nestled them into the platter. The color of the flowers played well with the rare lamb.
My aunt June is nearly 90. My mom is 87. One thing I’ve learned is that elderly people eat really small quantities. We would have plated the meal, but there would have been wide differences between the plates, so we elected to serve family style and allow each person to choose the portion they desired.
Michael’s beef tenderloin was so tender that no knives were required. It was beautiful, too. Leaves of Russian kale underneath provided a lovely color contrast.
Becky whipped up her oriental cabbage salad with ramen noodles. Too often at meals that are part of a group effort, the table is laden with casseroles. I was so pleased that we had nice variety instead.
I pulled out Aunt June’s crystal stemmed goblets. Then I had to figure out what to do with them. A wet dessert (ice cream, pudding, etc.) would have worked, but I had other plans for that course, so I pulled together a simple fresh fruit salad. Can you tell how much mint I go through? (Did I mention that you can continue to expand your mint population by rooting the sprigs in a little water afterwards and planting them?)
For dessert? Cake pops!!! It was my first time to make them and I was pleasantly surprised at how they came out. Tasty, and just the right size. Some people ate more than one, but I’m not going to name any names…