The Table was Set with Love

pauline parry lunch giveaway

“I feel comfortable in this world of hospitality. I was brought up with people who cared about creating a celebration around all the big and small moments of life. They cared about one another’s comforts, joys and happiness This was ingrained in me.”

Chapter 16 | My Culinary Love Story

It was a glorious Saturday. The rains had come through Los Angeles and left everything gleaming and green. That day I welcomed 10 people to my garden table – six were winners of my giveaway, Win Lunch with Pauline. Russell Harris, Marsha Meyer, Lauren Leibowitz, Meto Pierce, Carol Rosen and Naomi Sekiguchi had each bought one or both of my books – my debut memoir/cookbook, My Culinary Love Story and the re-release of Food, Fun, Love: Party Styles – and had been entered into a random drawing for the lunch.

The sun-dappled table was set with an array of delicate etched glassware. White china (my go-to for its elegance and way it shows off the food) was set with the menu which was also the place card. Flowers were placed throughout the house and the front patio. The kitchen was bustling with activity as we began to prep and then cook all the elements of this gourmet luncheon ready.

The menu was chosen from recipes in My Culinary Love Story — meals that either I made Dennis or that we ate together when we were first dating.

As guests arrived, they were given a Kir Royale. This was the drink of Thornbury Castle when Dennis and I went there so he could meet my sister and her husband.

As the garden fountain burbled along in the rhythm of our own chatter, waiters passed appetizers that were inspired from my recipes in the book.

The winners of the giveaway continued to arrive, along with my friend Janette Carpenter who had created the watercolors for the book. Everyone was excited to be part of this special group. We leisurely made our way into the back garden where the table was set beneath the lush arbor. Soon everyone found a seat. As glasses were filled with wine the air of expectation and excitement was high for what was to come.

It was an afternoon that was fill with fun, food and love. And, I have to say, a fair amount of the magic, the kind that is made when people come together for the first time to enjoy a special experience.

I will never get tired of that. It’s why I chose to do what I do and write about it in my two books! 

Pauline parry giveaway lunch

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne Kir Royale

pauline parry giveaway

Tray-Passed Hors d’oeuvres

Brie Sun-Dried Tomato Basket

Artichoke Smoked Salmon

Liver Pate Port Wine


Creamy Maine Lobster Soup poured tableside

Served with Frank Family Chardonnay 2019 – Carneros


Beef Filet Steak Au Poivre

Served with petite heart dauphinoise potato

jewels of colorful carrots and haricot vert beans

Served with Mystic Hills Cabernet Sauvignon – 2019 Paso Robles

Sweet Ending

Tangerine and Blueberry Pavlova

Served with Muscat Beaumes de Venise – Rhone Valley

Clockwise from top: Giveaway Winner Meto Pierce | Winner Lauren Liebowitz and me | Signing a book for Winner Carol Rosen | Dennis, Winner Russell Harris, and me | greeting the winning guests on our patio | the fabulous Good Gracious Girls, responsible for our lunch — Chef Ireti and Chef Joanne Purnell | Dennis making a toast

Creative Partners: Cuisine: Good Gracious! Events | Menus: Calligraphy Katrina | Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals | Flowers: Wisteria Lane Flowers | Photos: The Good Photographer

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