We’re having guests for dinner tonight. A group of friends are coming, and I’m looking forward to the evening. The only problem is that I really don’t know what to make.
I’m on the keto diet. That means no carbs—no fruit except berries, no carb-heavy veggies, no grains, and of course no sugars in any form. Instead, I am eating low-carb vegetables, some protein, and a lot of fat.*
On the other hand, Pete is on a “heart healthy” diet prescribed by his cardiologist, which eliminates saturated fats and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and high fiber carbs.
The phone caller went right to the point: “Hi, can you help me? We’ve got five college students arriving to help in our ministry for a week. They’ll be here in two days, and the family that was going to host them had an emergency and had to leave town. Do you have room? And we were going to have a dinner and games night for them—can you host that too?”
Actually, having the guys stay here would be no trouble at all. We have a guest room plenty of floor space. College students can sleep on the floor, right? The dinner and games night would be a bit more work, but I figured that feeding five extra mouths was doable.
Thanksgiving is next week, and you may have invited friends and/or family to dinner. Of course, you’ll want to employ proper etiquette. I happen to own a little book, handed down from Pete’s grandmother and brown with age, titled Table Setting and Service for Mistress and Maid. It was written by Della Thompson Lutes, who is also billed as the author of The Gracious Hostess and A Home of Your Own, and Housekeeping Editor of Modern Priscilla and Director of Priscilla Proving Plant. In 155 pages, Mrs. Lutes outlines all the things the proper homemaker of 1928 needed to know about the art of furnishing a dining room, setting a table, hiring a maid (or waitress) and cook, and properly serving her family and guests.
How many of us are starting the new year on a diet? Whether you’re counting carbs, calories, and servings, or just trying to “eat a more healthy diet,” odds are that at least one of your new year’s resolutions involves food. Or maybe you hope to be more organized this year. I’m aiming for both–better eating and a saner schedule—so I’ve been going over our calendar, trying to plan out some healthy, easy to make, and inexpensive meals for the coming weeks. Even if we don’t follow my plan (and I’m quite sure we won’t), having some meal ideas thought out can salvage dinner on those days when it seems I don’t even have time to breathe, much less cook.
Considering that no one in our immediate family was Swedish (at least as far as we know), it’s a little strange that Swedish meatballs became the centerpiece for our yearly Christmas dinner. It just goes to show that anything can become a tradition if you let it.
My family discovered Swedish meatballs in 1964. We were traveling by train from Los Angeles to New York City. Both my parents had been raised on Long Island, and they wanted their California daughter to see where they had grown up. The New York World’s Fair provided an excellent excuse for a vacation. It takes three days to travel diagonally across the country—plenty of time to chat with the other passengers. My mom happened to be sitting next to a very nice lady who gave her this recipe.