Last Thursday, I hosted an annual Book Group party at my home. We have a group of 11 women and we each pick a book and bring the copies to the home of the get together prior to the evening at our own home the next month.
I picked a book titled, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Diffenbaugh used the symbolic language of flowers used in Victorian times as a instrument of communication for a young woman emancipated from the foster care system. Diffenbaugh's personal experience with the foster care system here in Sacramento lent her great insight into the lives of young people who's lives are changed, often times irrevocably damaged by this system. An eye opening great read.
The story, of course, inspired me to use flowers for my decor and menu for the evening......I started with Tiger Lilies from the Farmers Market, which I bought the Sunday before. It gave them plenty of time to open for the party. I picked them for the cheerful orange color (since Halloween is today) giving no thought really to the symbolic meaning of the flower. I looked up the meaning later and discovered it means "wealth and pride" according to many flower dictionaries! Ouch! I found another definition as well, which I like a bit better: mercy, compassion, kindness and unconditional love. That is the kind of wealth that needs spreading around!
Next....I thought my muslin table cloth that I had painted with black stripes ( you may remember this DIY project from THIS blog post) would make a great base for the Halloween weekend. With that in mind, I wanted to top it with something else. I have this great resource blocks from my house where they have hundreds of bolts of beautiful fabrics discounted to unbelievable prices. (For those of you in the area, stop in to World Class Textile on Franklin Blvd.! It is amazing!) I found a wool suiting fabric from England in a beautiful brown herringbone weave, and it happened to have an orange embroidered selvage edge. I decided to leave the selvage edge showing....I love it! I just got two yards at $3.00 per yard for the top of the table......I may go back for more!
I added a few orange glass votives and leaves from my Japanese Maple Tree that are starting to turn, and I was done.
My Menu included a simple spring greens salad with roasted pine nuts, avocado and Nasturtiums from my garden ....Nasturtiums meaning conquest; victory in battle; maternal love; charity; patriotism. I followed that with Beef Bourguinon from Ina Garten's recipe in her Barefoot in Paris Cookbook. I garnished with Cinnamon Sage flowers, again from the garden...Sage meaning wisdom; long life and domestic virtue. To finish, dessert was an almond cake topped with warm dried fruit compote. I just get a combination of dried fruits from my favorite seller at the Farmers Market and simmer them in orange and apple juices until a nice sauce forms....so easy and so delicious! Everything was meant to be comfort food for a crisp Fall evening with girlfriends who love books. A wonderful evening.
I wish you all a very Happy Haunting Halloween!