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an invitation to the table


A table is a place where you gather around to celebrate special holidays like Easter as well as daily meals. I think this is the most important piece of furniture in a house because that's where the family meets. There’s a beauty in cooking and serving food. Well, maybe with an exception of cleaning. I do get a sense of pride when I admire my beautifully set table and see the smiles on peoples' faces eating my food. However, it’s not how it started…


When I moved out from my parents house about 20 years ago I didn’t know how to cook anything. I got very spoiled in a bad way by my mother and grandmother. Yet, try after try, one successful dish after another, meal after meal, gathering after gathering I can say I know how to cook. I won’t claim that I’m amazing cook because I still remember my father’s saying: “Practice makes perfect” and knowing that God is the only perfect One I’m ok with never reaching the highest level. The important part is that I enjoy my cooking.


The person that I’m the most grateful for teaching and inspiring me in this category will be Jola. She is the one that made me realize that it matters what color and shape and form your food and decoration take. And this is after all the basic definition of beauty.


I couldn’t decide what’s the foundation of a beautiful table. Is it the table itself or the tablecloth, which you really need if you serve children. I do both. I have a pretty table but many, all seasons, tablecloths as well. I like white tableware and it’s easy to adjust the décor. Over time I get a little more adventures and start with more colors, sometimes forced by the gifts I receive. Once you decide on theme and colors you prepare your center pieces and match the napkins accordingly. My favorites are fresh flowers and candles which not only bring the look but smell too.


Since we are in the Easter season right now, this is how I decorated my table…



I start with springy colors and of course eggs on the tablecloth. Spring, the beautiful and warm season, is outside so I also brought it inside. Now, not only does it feel like spring but it also looks like spring on my table. These branches with very tiny leaves are very special because they are coming from our new property. It’s exciting that even though we didn’t start building yet we can already benefit from this land’s beauty. I picked them couple weeks ago so they could bloom faster. I honestly don’t know what type of tree my branches are. Do you recognize it?

I have my bunnies as my toddler son will say "mommy bunny and baby bunny," cutely dressed with turquoise ribbons.

As for fresh flowers I went with pink hyacinths as I thought they’ll last longer than daffodils or tulips yet smell more intense. Also, I’m planning to dry the bulbs and plant them in the fall in my garden.

And the absolute must for Easter – eggs in pastel colors that bind the overall picture and with my artistical metal egg I do wish you: Happy Easter, Beautiful!

No matter how beautifully you set up the table with the decoration and tableware it’s the food that makes the show. You just have to do it right. The more global we become the more exotic foods we eat. Although the word exotic will be different for everyone. I remember eating an "exotic" banana for a very first. I was a small girl back then and I actually didn't like it at first. Now I still get fascinated by new things and the list doesn’t stop. Amaranth, jicama, almond butter, coconut water, hemp seeds just to name few that I tried. I experiment with drying the fruit, pickling the vegetables, baking savory deserts. Cooking is a very interesting world that teaches you hard work, persistence and patience. Please join it and I promise it'll be rewarding.


Then I added…



These are confusing to me because not exactly exotic and the part of the décor however eatable and drinkable. Rabbit drink – carrot juice that I made myself with a little bit of papaya for more sweetness and tangerine for inviting smell and a slice of fennel for a curious taste.

On the Easter table you need to have a lamb. This one is made from butter. I remember getting one made by one of my aunts in the past but I’m not there yet. This one is store bought but I decorated it with black pepper eyes and red flag as a symbol of Jesus’ Resurrection. Very ambitiously I’d like one day to make the butter myself too.

This is an animal rich holiday and by the way I don’t like animals because I’m afraid of them.

Chicks, little yellow and cute but the special thing is actually what they are sitting on. Garden cress. I plant it from the seeds but it isn’t fully ready yet. My other aunt taught me about it. It’s actually as I researched very healthy microgreen.

Easter small cake… I’m not a good baker, this one is on the list of the skills I intend to improve.


The most special meal of Easter has always been and still is the breakfast, early in the morning… when the women went to the grave as the Bible says and remind us what Easter really is about.


And something special…



I’m excited yet often unsuccessfully to introduce Polish traditions and specialty to my new family and friends. During the Easter we have a custom of blessing food that shall ensure the prosperity, fertility and health for the whole upcoming year. A decorated basket filled with traditional Easter foods is brought for a blessing on Saturday to church so that you can eat it on Sunday's morning breakfast. I researched to double check what you put in Easter baskets and the meaning of the food. It differs depending on the regions or countries. The most common foods, their meaning and symbolism are:

  • SHAPED LAMB – symbol of Resurrected Christ and life's victory over death

  • EGGS – a new life and Jesus’ rising from the tomb

  • BREAD – the simplest of food that we ask for in every “Our Father” and bread that becomes Jesus’ Body during every Eucharist

  • MEATS – in memory of Pascal lamb that Jesus ate at the last supper with His disciples and symbol of generosity and abundance (after Lent fasting)

  • SALT and PEPPER – spices to add taste to our life and salt to prevent us from corruption/spoiling

  • HORSERADDISH – in remembrance of Jesus’ bitter Passion

  • CAKE or SWEETS – to add joy to our lives.

Lastly… enjoy the meal!



We have eggs of course with meats; ham and sausage. Then 3 different types of spreads to go with it. They all use the horseradish as a base; beets (very Polish), herbs (garden cress, green onions and dill) and carrots (don’t get disgusted – leftovers from carrot juice… supporting “no waste” philosophy). Finishing with homemade bread and cake.


I wish you could smell my house now with the flowers and baking. It’s beautiful indeed.


As a child and teenager I remember my mother preaching to us over the holidays “Kids,

I just need to teach your traditions”, now as a mother myself I hear her wisdom. Plus, no matter how hard she’d work to prepare all the foods her calm and caring personality will ensure that the atmosphere at the table will be pleasant for her family and guests. So please remember about this when you sit at your beautiful table.


With the Easter season I wish you not only beautiful decorations, meals and smells but also beautiful moments with the ones you love and most importantly a beautiful encounter with Resurrected Lord. May He bless you with whatever you wish this Easter!

 

Jola

a beautiful aunt, full of inspirations and with a table that looks and tastes wonderfully.

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