This is the season that I have been preparing for since early summer. How is that for slow living, or a ‘slow project’, because living, well, has been anything but slow recently. I started by sowing pink and white strawflowers this year in my container garden. I managed to harvest only a handful, some of them very tiny, because they disappeared among the ever overbearing purple basil. Then, I dismantled every farmers’ market bouquet I had bought this year, and meticulously separated the strawflowers to dry. They are not making appearance at this table, as I am keeping all the orange hues ones for another occasion. I have also picked every seed pod from wild growing tulipa silvestris in my community garden plot, instead of sending them to compost bin. They dried perfectly, although they do make unnerving rattlesnake noise when shaken…I have made the makeshift napkin holders from strips of random leather piece, cut and threaded through for a bow like appearance.
Other than that, there were few bunches of grasses picked at the same time we went to pick strawberries on a farm, also dried upside down in the kitchen, almost forgotten. The natural materials color scheme that can be reinvented with different plate setting and different linen is my absolutely favorite, not just for Thanksgiving gathering.
Then, there is the star of the season, pumpkin, which I only came to appreciate recently after making the soup for the first time. It is absolutely fool proof and easy recipe.
To serve 4 people: Use 1 butternut pumpkin, cut into 1 inch thick pieces, 1 white onion cut into wedges, 3 cups of broth, 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped, table spoon of curry, cumin, and ground coriander each, pinch of red pepper flakes. I like using a cast iron Le Creuset pot to cook it. I lightly cook the onion in 1 table spoon of olive oil, add chili and ginger and give it a minute to sizzle, before adding the pumpkin and broth and cooking over med-low heat for 30 minutes, covered. I puree it when it is just slightly cooled. The color alone is gorgeous, but love the ginger bite in it!
I caught myself spending a bit too much time looking for a new set of plates recently. You know the type: matte glaze, earthy colors, low rim…the list of goes on. Alter all, the Thanksgiving is just around the corner, would love to style with something new! Then, reality check: we are not hosting this year, I have absolutely no excuse to buy a new set of plates. Which reminded me, rewind two years back when we were, and my frantic shopping spree for something new. I ended up with plates, set of cutlery (once returned and replaced in a process, never used since), and a couple of random serving pieces. Let’s don’t forget set of four espresso cups and saucers. All and all, very lackluster, except for the plates. Once again a lesson, as if I needed yet another one, that good collections take time and patience. Keeping it simple, surrounding yourself with everyday objects that bring comfort and mindfulness are truly rewarding. And then, take a trip to your local grocery store for the greens and quality candles, save some leaves from backyard clean up, rummage through that stash of velvet ribbon saved for mystery project, and you are ready! Here is my set up for a low key entertaining, on a perfectly autumnal Sunday, pre-Thanksgiving, with just a couple of friends.
Comfort of the perfectly aged pieces (heirloom crystal glasses that belonged to Carl’s Uncle) mix with modern glass candlestick that traveled with me from Poland, and mingle with everyday dinnerware. My mini collection (3!) of vintage copper vessels picked up in England and Poland, finally getting use and making me proud.
Candles – handmade tapered ‘Antique Gold” by Mole Hollow from Whole Foods
Greens – bunch of Eryngium from Whole Foods
Ribbon – from M&J Trim
Napkins – remnants of Lee Jofa fabric