Saturday we hosted our first farm to table dinner since September, 2019. It may seem cliche’ to say it was a magical evening, but it truly was. The farm to table dinners we host, AKA the Chef’s Table Experience, always have certain elements.
Setting: We dined outdoors, under our ancient oak trees, with Edison lights hanging overhead. The tables were topped with linen tablecloths and simple fall decor. We were grateful for the cooler temps and the starry Texas sky. We couldn’t have ordered a more beautiful evening.
Guests: Our guests were a great mix of ages and occupations. It always amazes me how much we end up having in common with people who seem so different from us. Here was a group of people who might never have met except for our common desire to gather around the table and experience community. The intimate grouping - a long table with sixteen guests - made it easy to hear everyone when introductions were made.
Food and drink: Saturday’s menu teased our taste buds with the flavors of fall. The courses included locally grown/sourced ingredients, with many coming from our own hydroponic garden - greens and herbs we’ve grown from seeds. The four wines we sampled (each course was paired with a different wine) were all from Texas wineries.
Inspiring art - Each time we host a Chef’s Table Experience, we have a different artist share their creative journey. This past Saturday, our friend Will, an award winning spoken word artist, teacher and creative director, inspired us to think about our own journey as he shared parts of his. Many of us connected with the piece he later performed for us that evening.
Photographer: I realized almost too late that we didn’t have someone to photograph the event. Generous friends shared the photographer they were using for their son’s senior pictures. He had several photos made on and around our property. The rest of the evening, the photographer was with us, capturing candid moments that spoke volumes about our time together.
Was everything perfect? No. Was there anything we would change? Absolutely. We always want to be improving. I learned that I need to do a little more planning and preparation so that I’m not rushed when setting up. I also learned that I need an assistant on the day of the event. And my biggest takeaway was that if I am feeling rushed or preoccupied, it’s difficult to be present with my guests.
I’m not beating myself up though. I realize that learning is a part of the experience - just like tasting the food, connecting with others and being inspired by a gifted artist.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column “Finding Myself in a Small Town,” in the October 2, 2021 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.