FROM MARGOT’S TABLE TO YOURS
(IMPORTANT: Please make sure to scroll down to enable the menu on your right to display all of the different categories available for your enjoyment.)
THIS IS A BLOG FOR GUESTS DESIRING SMALL INTIMATE CATERING EXPERIENCES IN THE KETCHUM/SUN VALLEY LOCALITY AND ALSO FEATURES TREASURED RECIPES FOR ALL COOKS INCLUDING THE TIMID ONE
I call this recipe and food blog TempInnKeeper because that’s what I turned into. I used to have a precious bed and breakfast inn and after 5 years had to sell it for various reasons you don’t want to hear. I loved being an innkeeper and all of my many guests. What a privilege it was to have experienced this period in my life. There are several things that this past experience taught me: I find people amazing and enjoy them all; I enjoy helping people; and I have a passion for cooking.
As well, in keeping with having been an innkeeper, I provide small intimate or family dining experiences in this area. Please see my post in the menu on the right hand side named: From Margot’s Table to Yours food catering services. This catering service is in the friendly family style that I featured in my bed and breakfast inn. Additionally, if desired, I present my guests with a book of recipes that I used for their dining experience and pictures of them enjoying it.
“My Table To Yours” is also the name of the food column that I write on a weekly basis for our local human interest newspaper here in Blaine County, ID. It comes out every Wed. and you can view it and my columns on-line at: http://www.theweeklysun.com.
So now, I guess that I need to tell you a story about my first adventure in a dinner presentation for guests. I’m sure that many of you will be able to relate one way or another to this true story.
I was a young bride, living in a university apartment with my new husband, and I had just invited some of his friends for a dinner. We were poor starving students, so in those days, hamburger was the economical thing to buy(no longer though). In view of that, I decided to create a wonderful meatloaf surrounded by mashed potatoes and a side of salad. I can’t remember what the desert was but I know we had beer—because that’s what we drank at CAL in those days. The furniture of course was those butterfly chairs, brick and crate bookcases, floor pillows and well, you get the picture and the era.
Backtrack a bit to my childhood and please know that I was NOT allowed in the kitchen. Mother was Dutch and she didn’t want a mess so I really had no cooking lessons-except for one brief year in grammar school which did not address meat loaves.
Back to Cal, and for some reason, I must not have used a cookbook or maybe we were too poor to have had a cookbook, but I thought that meatloaf would be so easy to make. In the oven it went and the smell was delicious. The guests arrived and so did my meatloaf—which fell—totally. What does a hostess do when her main dish fails: even at that tender age, I could fudge and fudge I did. Since I am Swiss, I told everyone that I had just presented them with a famous Swiss National dish called “chuchichaschtli(umlats over the a and the last i)” and almost impossible to pronounce unless you speak Suisse Deutsche(Swiss German). I thought that word had some powerful Swiss sounds. Translated literally, it means, cabinets. All my guests were hugely impressed, loved the dish and this inspired me to never be a “timid cook”.
I am telling you this tale because just recently, I have had some friends tell me that they can’t afford to buy the ingredients for my recipes. Times are still tough and there are a lot of people out there on food stamps. So, what I have to say is this: you can be a terrifically good cook even in hard times, but you need to be brave, flexible and imaginative. You also need to relax when you are cooking. You need to get a little zen in your mind when you create a dish. Don’t stress out in the kitchen; this is the time you can use your right hand side of the brain and create. You too can be an artist. If you don’t have all of the ingredients at hand for a recipe, invent. Don’t have chicken stock, try another stock or open a can of chicken soup and filter the liquid out. Save the rest for another recipe. Or just use water and make do with some fresh or dried herbs. No milk, try diluting cream or whatever is in your refrigerator or cabinet (chuchichaschtli) to create some of that white stuff—or use dried, etc. Go on the web to look up substitutions. You would be amazed what you can do to substitute ingredients. The most important thing I think is to be able to afford fresh vegetables. That’s a must. However, meats, poultry, fish—they consist of the proteins you should get, but you can get a complete protein with combinations of such as beans and rice, etc. The thing I am trying to say is to open your mind to all sorts of possibilities and even if your financial situation is dire, you can eat right.
I believe that I’ve only had two meal failures so that’s a pretty good track record for someone who has lived as many years as I have (don’t ask please). At my inn I decided to make an English dish called Toad In A Hole for 6 guests who were really looking forwards to my usual yummy dishes. Out it came; I set it down on my lovely dining room table family style which is the way I served and one of my repeat guests tasted it and just looked at me and said: “Margot, I don’t think so”. Oh my gosh the dish was awful. So what could I do in a super quick way—I served a real Italian breakfast consisting of cheeses, dried meats, french bread, etc. So, you see, there always seems to be a solution for a failure. But I must tell you I was pretty panicked for a moment. Luckily I had all good humored guests.
So, there you have a little about my adventures in cooking and entertaining. However, very lastly, I want to send this blog wish that this free input of what I love to share will enable a bit of the following for all of my readers: a ” bite and taste” to teach, inspire, motivate, share and help you discover the rewards of cooking and entertaining in a such an easy way that you’ll be able to entertain your guests now and in the future knowing only joy and happiness (and compliments as well). Here’s to a vision full of happy food offerings.