Festive Note:
Easter Dinner
23 April 2019

¶ Easter dinner might have been perfect, but I ran out of gas. No, I don’t mean that literally; the kitchen was fine! But I was rather like a car that just slows to a stop when there aren’t even fumes in the tank. Had I planned a little better… It is ever thus, and the problem is that months will go by before my next “dinner,” and I’ll forget Sunday’s lessons.

Writing things down doesn’t seem to do any good, because there’s always something that makes advice from the past questionable. Such as “set the table on the day before.” That would have been a good idea this weekend. The energy that went into setting the table — it wasn’t much, but it was exactly what I needed later, and didn’t have, to make a nice hollandaise sauce. Even thinking about the table made it a little harder to organize the cooking. The ham and the potatoes were both overdone, because I thought they’d take longer. (No, I wasn’t working from recipes.) The ham was okay, but the potatoes were merely edible. Both would have benefited enormously from a sauce — a nice pan gravy with wine for the ham. The asparagus were as good as asparagus ever is without hollandaise. (But a tad limp. I am wondering if, in my old age, I really like asparagus anymore.) If I hadn’t been thinking about the table — Kathleen polished all the flatware, by the way, a great help — I’d have had no distractions from thinking about cooking times. 

The soup, a curried butternut squash purée, made days in advance, was excellent, especially when graced with a slurry of bosc pear. I had the idea of grating the pear without realizing that the result would be not little flakes of fruit but a mush that had to be scraped from the grater. I had thought of grating the pear right onto the hot soup, but when I saw what was happening I got out a small bowl and did the grating into that. Then I spooned the result — tasty but not attractive — into the purée. Perhaps I ought to try grating slices of dried pear?

Ray Soleil made his fabulous mousse, so there was no way I could go wrong on dessert. And the whole day passed without so much as the mildest expletive. There were no hassles, no frustrations. Just that bottleneck when it was time to serve the main course. No counterspace for separating eggs. (I had prepped the butter.) No room to move the roasting pan from the stove. So I put what I had on plates and sighed. 

The plates — Herend Market Garden, bought years ago at Bluck’s in Bermuda — were just right for Easter. They were lovely.

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