I am moving, and thus must sell off most of the furniture, including my most beautiful and beloved table. For four years it has stood quietly shining in the afternoon light in my little apartment, and has buoyed up countless dinner parties. Sadly, I don’t remember the first party it served, but I know I used it very well, and it was a little difficult to part with it yesterday morning. [Luckily I will be able to visit it every so often if I am in DC, because my friends down the street bought it. Foolish to be so attached to inanimate objects? (And don’t even let me get started on my reading chair.) It’s just — it was the first real piece of furniture I ever purchased, with my hard-earned money, and there’s a certain amount of nostalgia attached to it for the reason especially. And, it was/is a beautiful table]
So: moving, and thus leaving my small home of nearly five years. I wonder if the new tenant will be visited by the ghosts of dinner parties past, the Halloween costume parties, the birthday surprise dinners, the New Year’s Day gatherings, a tradition for years. The apartment seems so much larger with hardly anything left in it, the artwork down from the walls and neatly packed up to ship to California. There is that emptiness, that wistfulness. I have loved so much living here.
The most memorable dinners? Probably Thanksgivings, particularly the one with nine guests and the table extension quickly built the night before because it has to be a sitdown dinner it’s Thanksgiving, hello!, with three cooks busily turning out dish after dish in the tiny kitchen (and all Californians!); or the one before that, smaller, when my friend’s oven did not work yet and he brought the turkey across the street to mine and I had to baste it every so often (the horror!), though they all said it was the best bird they’d ever had (coincidence? or … ?). Perhaps my Bastille Day afternoon fete (quiches, bien sur, and a cheese plate and fuit, and pastry), that I think concluded with swing dancing? (it’s a little hazy). Or the first New Year’s dinner, with the cranberry upside-down cake gleaming as if bejeweled, and just enough Korbel champagne brought by my childhood friend for all 12 guests to have a glass. Or my farmer’s market dinner, with the very best friends (tomato tartes and roasted eggplant with garlic and new potatoes and salad, every ingredient from the market) and all the dishes washed and put away before bedtime. And there are so many more that it would fill pages and pages to write them all down.
This place has been home and while I am excited to move back to the place I perpetually miss, and long for, I am a bit wistful to leave here, too.
I hope I have left the kitchen well-prepared for the next budding cook.