Saturday, March 7, 2009

the salon challenge

So you want to take the challenge? Here's how it came about...

A ways back, I heard an essay on the NPR series This I Believe, that I just couldn't get out of my mind. Jim Haynes wrote about his weekly salons, dinners held in his Paris home for upwards of sixty people, all brought together from the various ends of the earth.
Dinner parties have always held a place in the warmest depths of me. As a precocious child of a single mother, I was often happily dragged to sit down dinners farther back in my history that I can even recount, and the warm glow around a table never fails to revive a sense of calm and comfort in me. As an adult (if that is truly what I am now), I love to create these dinners, planning menus and seating arrangements.
I love to create them, but more often than not, they don't actually happen. The girls occupy most of my food energy, and I find that four and six are not necessarily the best ages for dinner party guests. I have so many excuses why I can't throw a good dinner party- the dishwasher broke two years ago from Rosie hanging on it every day, the table's not quite big enough, money is tight, take your pick. But the truth is, I love to invite people to dinner, and even more, I love to invite combinations of people, and some people I don't even really know. It is just too easy to lock myself away up here, and I find the few dinner parties that have actually occurred around my table to be nothing short of expansive. And I don't know about you, but I could always use a bit more expanse in my world.
So here is the challenge. Every two months, have a dinner party. I will provide a general theme, and the only other rules are as follows.
1. You must invite at least six people beyond your immediate family.
2. Some percentage of your guests must be people that you don't know all that well.
3. It must be a sit down dinner.

the June 1 challenge theme
my dinner party

the August 1 challenge theme
my dinner party

the October 1 challenge theme
some dinner party thoughts
my dinner part one
my dinner part two

the January theme
my dinner party 

the May 2011 theme
my dinner party