Something Out of Nothing
I have a friend who is spectacular at making something out of nothing. She invited me to her house once for leftover spaghetti and meatballs and I swear her dinner of leftovers was nicer than anything I could have done with an unlimited budget. It’s all about the little touches she tells me…the sprig of rosemary as a garnish or the pieces of basil on top of the fresh mozzarella. One Valentine’s Day she decorated the table with little pink and red chocolate hearts and had baby pink roses garnish her serving dishes. It probably cost nothing but looked like a million bucks. But my friend, you see, is an artist in all aspects of her life and she can visualize things that myself, a numbers person, just can’t see.
When I have people over I really do make an attempt to make things look nice. “Presentation is half the battle,” my mom always tells me. The loose translation of that is, “No, Ameena, you cannot expect people to come to the kitchen and serve themselves.” The entertainer in me wants to listen to my mom. But the lazy side of me wants to serve out of my best Calphalon.
The crazy thing is that even my dad is better at presentation than me. My father is a stickler for silverware, serving dishes, and soup bowls. Give him a paper plate and he will freak out. I’ve never seen anything like it. One might even call him obsessed. I guess growing up in India without proper tableware will do that to you.
Right before my wedding (about 100 years ago) my dad decided to rush out and buy a new set of dishes for a party my parents were hosting. So one Saturday he and my mom drove down to the Mikasa store and spent five hours debating the merits of the classic white set versus the pattern. They went with the white, bought 100 place settings, and after that one wedding event those dishes went into storage and haven’t been taken out since. Apparently my parents haven’t heard of this crazy, revolutionary concept called dish rental.
Anyway, I’m not sure what happened to my sense of hospitality but I clearly didn’t inherit it from my parents. As I get older though, I realize that these are the types of habits Maya is going pick up as she grows up. Since Maya’s dad often eats his oatmeal out of a giant glass serving bowl and her uncle drinks his protein shakes straight out of a blender, it is pretty clear to me that I need to make more of an effort to offset the damage of my uncouth family’s habits.
So lately I have been looking for nicer serving pieces. Someone like me needs things that are foolproof! During one of my half-hearted searches, I came across the most beautiful collection from Rosanna, Inc