Setting the stage is vital to any production. And I don’t just mean in theater. At our farm to table dinners, we work hard to have everything in place in order to make the night a success. We do this in a variety of ways.
We prepare for our guests in advance. When they make their dinner reservations, I’m able to find out about allergies, mobility issues or anything else I should know to make their evening stress free.
We eat outside. Let’s face it, this past weekend was hot in our part of Texas. (It’s why we take a break during July and August.) And while we could eat a meal inside one of our safari style tents, it just wouldn’t be the same. Even though it was warm, there was something magical about sitting under majestic oak trees with Edison lights twinkling overhead.
We source much of our food from local and regional farms and ranches. And each course is paired with a different Texas wine. I can’t tell you how good it feels to be able to support local farms, ranches and wineries by using their products for our dinners. While we use as much as we can from our own property, it’s great to involve others in what we’re doing as well.
Our chef takes the ingredients and cooks over an open fire during the meal, introducing each course and the paired wine throughout the evening. Because he’s so close to the table, guests are easily able to interact with him and ask questions.
A Texas artist always joins us at the table, but that’s not all. Whether it's a singer/songwriter, a spoken word poet or a visual artist, we all learn something from them as they share with us their own creative journey.
We connect through conversations around the table - both with the people we’re sitting around and through some questions that we prompt the guests with. It gives people connection points. Because of the relaxed environment, they have an opportunity to continue talking afterward. Last Saturday night people lingered after we left for the night - glampers sharing with one another over wine and conversation. Some of us had things in common and others seemed to be quite different from one another. It’s a reminder of the richness and texture our lives take on when we put ourselves out there and open up to meet new and different people.
These dinners are a lot of work, but they’re so rewarding. Houston and I love welcoming everyone and helping them connect with one another in some way. Hosting is something we’re passionate about. We love helping people feel welcome. And so does Samson. During dinner our Great Pyrenees wandered up to the table with his big brown eyes, looking for a treat.
This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the May 14, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.