Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Simple, Simply-Divine Dinner Party

Last evening we had ten dinner guests. Normally, I find that women propel conversation, but not this time. Instead, we listened to the intriguing adventures of the male dinner guests. What made the evening memorable was their whole-life commitment to sharing God's love with others around the world.

One retired executive described his climbs up Mt. Kilimanjaro and to the base camp of Mt. Everest. Another guest, an emergency room doctor, told about traveling to Kurdistan and Haiti to bring God's love through medicine. A third businessman explained his years of serving primitive people in Irian Jaya, a remote part of Indonesia. And, the fourth man recounted dodging bullets in Bosnia and putting roofs on widows' houses in Kosovo. He told of his rescue from an avalanche in Afghanistan and explained installing stoves and solar panels in huts in remote Himalayan villages. My husband, who thrives on mission trips where he can use his surgical skills to train and help others, was in his element. 

To focus on the people, not the preparations, I kept the table scape and menu simple. In the morning, we walked over to an Amish farm where I cut zinnias--a dollar a dozen. They are easy to arrange in soaked florist oasis.

Keeping the tone casual, I used place mats and glazed pottery instead of a damask table cloth and china.
 For an appetizer, I arranged cut fresh fruit around a whole pineapple and served it with cream cheese fruit dip.

For the main course I roasted chicken breasts in honey mustard dressing.  This is my own concoction. Once, when I was dipping McDonald's chicken nuggets in honey mustard, a light-bulb went on in my head.  Why not use honey mustard salad dressing like you would barbecue sauce?  It works the same way and keeps the poultry moist.
Another of my simple culinary creations is to bake peeled and cubed yams in apple pie filling for about an hour. The fruit keeps the sweet potatoes moist and gives a hint of cinnamon and sugar. Serve the combination hot.

To round out the main course, I relied on my old standbys: broiled asparagus for the green vegetable and sliced fresh tomatoes with mozzarella cheese for the salad.

Dessert was an old-fashioned chocolate Bundt cake which I laced with pitted and halved Bing cherries before baking. (This turned out to be another successful experiment.  The fresh cherries kept the cake moist, but didn't get soggy or disintegrate.)

A thoughtful guest brought a wonderful hostess gift--one worth remembering.  A container of Bing cherries tied with fresh roses.

But what made the evening simply divine?  It was the conversation centered around sharing the love of Christ with others.


  1. How absolutely beautiful! I LOVE to have time to really give a nice dinner party but currently I work 30 hours on Fridays and Saturdays so it is very hard to find the time to make it nice! One of these day, hopefully, things will be different!
    I read one of your posts a while back about your daughter's pretty bedroom. It reminds me of our bedroom and I'm thinking about trying my hand at the painting you described...that is,...when I get the time!
    Thanks for your visit on my little blog!

  2. It sounds like you had a great time, and hearing all of those stories must have been wonderful. I love hearing missionary stories. Your tablescape is beautiful. You should think about connecting to the Tablescape Thursday blog party at sometime. You definitely have that gift :-)