Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy 80th Birthday- Part 3 Food, Surprise and Design

Having a point person for a pot luck avoids allot of duplication and disappointed cooks because half the guests brought a nearly identical dish.  For my mother-in-laws birthday party, the duty fell to Billie by virtue of proximity and when it comes to juggling lots of details, she has it going on.

Billie's first round of calls was for a request to hold the date. She kept it quiet a secret from Melva that Nancy was flying in from Wyoming until the daughter was delivered to her doorstep.

A week ahead of the party, Billie called with what would be most helpful for us to bring for the party.

Loosen your belts. Billie never lets a guest go hungry.
Some of the goodies that left guests with gastronomic groaning included

Taco Soup


Chips, Guacamole
a rainbow of munchies served off plates,
out of bowls and crock pots 

THE cake

Nancy Parr and Cheryl Stevens catching up

Dips and Dippers served in vintage glass
Melva is gluten intolerant. I beat diabetes, but have to stay on top of nutritional restrictions or the word beat will be replaced with have. So I was put in charge of  appetizers for the nutritionally challenged. Vegetable dippers are a great start.

I decided to whip up something more sophisticated than the ubiquitous Ranch dip. However, I didn't want the taste to overwhelm children's taste buds. Equal parts  NapaStyle Parmesan Dip, Best Foods Mayonnaise and sour cream can be stamped with the Goldilocks's seal of approved- as in just right.

Italian Eggs on Generously-sized Egg Platter from Pottery Barn.

The gluten free dill pickles on the market don't cut it for deviled eggs. But there is something about a spring time gathering that calls for an egg tray. So continuing the Italian stylistic taste, the cooked egg yolks were whipped with a good measure of Best Foods Mayonnaise, Basil Pesto and diced pimientos. A light hand on the salt, white pepper and Italian seasoning shakers- and a new twist on an old classic debuted for the first time away from my table. It was a hit.

My husband presented his mom with a table. But not a table like you will find in a store.

Its life with us began when my mother-in-law rescued it from a dumpster. It had good lines, but not much else to recommend it. Our son, Trevor recommended she send it to his Dad for refinishing.

What Gerry did is a bit more than refinishing. That story can be saved for another day. For now, see how it looks a couple coats of finish shy from being furniture reborn.

A bottom shelf was added for stability, then inlaid with leaf pattern

The birds on branch inlay insert proved a challenge.
NapaStyle and the Pottery Barn are just steps apart from each other at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.


  1. Oh scrumptious! I bet a great time was had by all.

    Say Lydia, your hubby, Gerry and my son-in-love, Mark are birds of a feather when it comes to the art of furniture!

    Great day to ya!

  2. Hi Lydia,
    What a wonderful family gathering.
    And what an amazing woodworker your husband is. His design and detail work are beautiful!

  3. Lydia,

    First chance I have had to comment but I so enjoyed the pictures, food, view, everything!
    Gerry showed us the table in progress when we were over there. It's is gorgeous! So he gave it to his mom for her birthday? I can imagine she was thrilled!

    Thanks for sharing the wonderful celebration with us all!
    Happy belated Birthday to Melva!

    Hugs, Trisha

  4. Thank you all for writing in.

    Wait until you see the wine cabinet he is building as a wedding present for our son and his wife-to-be.


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