Try as we might, we live in the modern age and that means that oftentimes we come home frazzled and feeling anything but elegant. The easy remedy — the attitude adjuctment hour home game if you will — is the time that we take to prepare dinner. Three hints:
1) Bill Evans. That first glass should be taken with the very elegant strains of Mr. Bill Evans as he tickles, caresses and coaxes the ivories into the sound of a perfectly elegant evening. “My Foolish Heart” makes me feel like I’ve stepped into my penthouse on Park Avenue. Substitute whatever makes you feel incredibly sophisticated. (And please forward me your choices!)
2) Home cooking. I don’t know about you, but preparing a meal is tremendously satisfying for me. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I strive for easy to prepare but delicious menus. Even a simple Caesar salad topped with grilled shrimp and Parmesan Reggiano becomes more than the sum of its parts when you plate it yourself. And it takes about 15 minutes to prepare. That’s fifteen minutes to brain storm, prepare and present the finished project to great applause. When was the last time you had that kind of a project at work? Creatively satisfying and mind-emptying at the same time, preparing dinner is a great way to ease into your night.
3) Set the table or tray. This last was courtesy of An Aesthete’s Lament, who reminded me of the importance of the simplest things in chasing the elegant life. Sadly, I was laying the napkins, silver and wine coaster on the cocktail table so we could watch our movie of the night. This forces the trying-to-unwind-after-a-long-day Mrs. E. to contort herself into a grazing position to get to the plate or to sit on the floor, or eat from her lap. A little linen and something shiny (like my gold-dipped rosemary sprigs above) will go far. Comfort will take it even further. Elegance, after all, is based on comfort.
The cocktail table just won’t do. I am currently in the market for a nice looking pair of trays. Any suggestions?