KyLynn Hull is a freelance writer who dabbles in many things including writing, urban farming and raising backyard chickens. She writes regularly for garden and food blog, Green City Garden Girl - Bound by the Seasons.
What is it about getting together over food? Having a meal is always better when you share it with others. As far back as you go in time, people always gathered around meals. Young and old. Rich or poor. While growing up, some of my fondest memories were awaiting the arrival of family and friends for meals served around big celebrations or just because. Buffet-style or sit down dinners, these gatherings were never just reserved for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. These were for birthdays, graduations, weekends and maybe even a random Wednesday.
I equally loved going to other people's homes to enjoy the conversations around the table. I liked the way people prepare the tables for a meal with condiments and tableware. My grandma always served a small dish of pickles and olives with the cutest appetizer forks. It was always a race to steal an olive or pickle slice without her seeing because she was old school and didn't allow you to eat—or even ask what you were having for dinner—until you sat down to the meal. She would prepare the breakfast table just as dolled up as dinner. It wasn't as perfect as Martha Stewart would have it—it was more natural and not quite as rigid. She positioned grapefruit spoons next to the grapefruit and each had ridges at the tip for scooping out the sweet and sour pulp. She'd have your personal-sized French press coffee next to that, toast with various jams and jellies and maybe a soft-boiled egg in its own special dish. I loved all this; all the special details around a table.
I have an older brother and sister and all three of us grew up to embrace cooking. We like to celebrate nearly everything and we like to do it around good food. Each of us collected old family-favorite recipes to recreate within our own homes. None of us miss a beat and we typically spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen strategizing, preparing and conversing about the meal. It's nice to see it all being passed down from my grandparents to my parents and on to us. And now we have our own kids taking on the same traditions built around the food table.
Last weekend was no different when celebrating with food. My parents came over for an early birthday weekend for my mom. We were attending a community play one night and they came over a day early to celebrate with a special dinner. The meal took on a ridiculous role when we busted out Alaskan spot prawns, oysters roasted in the shell, salmon drizzled with crab and buerre blanc sauce and a roasted beet salad with pistachios and goat cheese—not to mention the wine. It put a big smile on all our faces and we even had to hold my 3 1/2 year-old back from eating all the prawns and oysters. And, yes, this may be bragging, but here's a little photo gallery of our meal:
Oysters roasted in a 500-degree oven and served with garlic citrus butter. Photo By KyLynn Hull.
Elias enjoying the oyster appetizer. Photo By KyLynn Hull.
Alaska spot prawns sauteed in lime, lemon and olive oil. Photo By KyLynn Hull.
Salmon, crab and buerre blanc sauce with the rockin' beet salad. Photo By KyLynn Hull.