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Entertaining With Style

No, I'm not going to talk about the election, going on even as I type. Next week, maybe, when the dust has settled, I'll expound.

For now, since I've got food on the brain anyway, I've decided on a new goal in life: I want to be one of the people profiled in Bon Appetit's "Entertaining With Style" section. Or at least I want to write for them, so I can see these houses firsthand and eat this fabulous food.

In case you're not a fan of the magazine, the people that I am talking about live in gracious colonials, restored Victorian farmhouses, or working ranches (sometimes these are second homes, mind you). These houses are generally located near enough to a city that the family is not bereft of high culture, yet far enough away to be considered oasis-like and peaceful. They have well-paying jobs that leave them enough time and energy to raise families, entertain, and get plenty of exercise. They have children, sometimes grandchildren, and loads of friends. Their extended families love to come and visit them for holidays, which are full of tradition, unsparing of expense, and lavishly food-oriented.

Blame it on winter's approach. When the weekend weather isn't fit for anything else, I sit on the floor in front of the Food Network and go through back issues of cooking magazines, dreaming of the feasts I might prepare.

In the summer we might be minimalists, consider ditching our homes for a life spent on the beach, or wandering the hills of England. Cold weather makes materialists of all but the hardiest. When all you need to do to get a taste of asceticism is venture outdoors most days, snuggling under a blanket or enjoying a hand-warming mug of hot chocolate seem closer to necessity than indulgence. The big house, the lavish parties—now those are indulgences, but ones readily aspired to on grim November days.

Of course, as soon as the writer and photographer leave they probably erupt into screaming fights and kick the dog outside, and on Monday mornings they burn the toast and set off the fire alarm while everyone is getting ready for their day. At least, so I occasionally hope.

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© 2000 Rebecca J. Stevenson