What Makes a Perfect Dinner Party?

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I have often pondered and tried to figure out the perfect recipe in this life for the perfect dinner party. In my 65th year I’ve discovered you can always improve any party you host, and that is the challenge.

So this year I brought with me a theme from our travels in the north…a New Brunswick-themed menu.  I began with a very rich and seafood-stuffed chowder, and then I served ten New Brunswick lobsters, cold and upside down, as they prefer to serve them up in Canada.

At the table was a hand-curated selection of family and friends–daughter Kate and Jon, Mary, Bill, Paul, Paul Shoul, Diane, Joe and Susan. Everyone I knew well and was very happy to have there.  The only one missing was Steve H who was flying to Seattle as the party began.

Cold lobsters
Cold lobsters!

What made it so great?

I have wanted to sing for a while…just belt out the words, shared songs, getting the lyrics and singing to the original songs. Well, we did that using a songbook I created with the lyrics to four songs: Build Me Up Buttercup, Hey Jude, Don’t Stop Believin’ and Country Roads Take me Home.  A perfect assortment of some of the funnest songs you can sing. It was a release, an shared exhaltation, a breath of new air to sing together.  Then we just played more songs and continued with the jovial mood of the eveing, buoyed by the singing.

We had bread from Hungry Ghost bakery, and perfect little salads with avocado, and a beautiful flower-festooned carrot cake that Kate baked for my 65th year milestone. I called it a Retirement Party because I sense a bit of that coming on…no more working too hard too long. No, a slower and more 65-year-old pace. Staying at home a lot and puttering around.  Building a new shed and workshop area.