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A Sunset Dinner Cruise July 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Magick & Mystery, Travel & Leisure.

Before moving to Florida, I wrote this piece for a Fantasy Dinner Party challenge which prompted writers to invite 12 guests (plus themselves) to any setting on the planet (or even in a galaxy far, far away) to share fabulous food, convivial conversation, laughter and love:

Setting:  On a sailboat, with a large round table and comfortable chairs set out on the forward deck, under the setting sun (and, later, the moon and stars), with a gentle breeze billowing the sails, balmy temperatures, and turquoise water as far as the horizon.

An able captain and crew will handle the sails while an unobtrusive wait staff serve the food and pour the libations, liberally.

Attire:  Casual Comfort or Sporty Style.

Menu:  A Vegetarian Buffet representing cuisines from around the world.


Appetizers and Starters:  Peanut Soup from the King’s Arm Tavern in Williamsburg; Greek Salad overflowing with Feta and Olives; Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves); Spanokopita (Spinach and Feta cheese wrapped in flaky phyllo); Hummus with Warm Pita Triangles; Vegetable Tempura from Japan with Horseradish (or Wasabi) dipping sauces

Entrees:  Vegetable Curries and Stir Fries from India and Asia, served with fragrant Basmati Rice and assorted chutneys; Vegetable Paella from Spain and Portugal, with Saffron Rice and fresh grilled Asparagus; Spicy Noodles with Chinese Vegetables and Peanut Sauce; White Pizza with Broccoli, Artichokes, and Black Olives; Spinach Lasagna with melted Mozzarella

Sides: Colcannon from Ireland and Bubbles and Squeak from Jolly Old England (Mashed potatoes sautéed with onions and cabbage ~ served as is, or deep fried); Tabbouli with fresh Mint; freshly baked baguettes from France, Scones from Scotland, and Jalapeno Cornbread, Hush Puppies, and Corn Fritters from the Deep South

Desserts:  Gourmet Cheese Tray with Red Grapes and Bosc Pears;  White Chocolate Truffles; Dark Chocolates from Switzerland and Belgium; Tortes from Vienna; Chocolate Eclairs, Napoleons, and Crepes Suzette from Paris; Bananas Foster from Louisiana; fresh Gelato from Italy; and Coffee Heath Bar Crunch from Ben and Jerry’s


Duration:  Until we’ve had “enough.”

And now, the most important part of any gathering, the Guests:

First, let me thank WinterJazz for the spark of inspiration.  She mentioned the Fantasy Dinner Party game (that many of us played) in The Casting Game (on her Collective Misgivings project).  Since her piece prompted the Fantasy Dinner Party project, my guest of honor is . . . Winter Jazz!

Second, being a fan of English literature, I want a few “less contemporary” writers in attendance.  The value of their work arises from its timeless quality.  The English authors invited to my dinner party are none other than . . . Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, is the center point of the Christmas season at our home.  We read it, watch it, and grow inspired to live with its message in our hearts for the coming year.

And, dear Miss Austen, a talented “old maid” who understood love and shared that understanding through brilliant writing and clever dialogue in Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and other good works.

Third, being a fan of all things magical, my next guests epitomize, to me at least, that there is magic in each moment, that change is constant, and that we need to pay attention to the shifting winds.

Please join me in welcoming  . . . Mary Poppins and Merlin, the most magically delicious wizard of all.

While Walt Disney brought the story of Ms. Poppins to life for me (and countless other children) with his brilliant casting of Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke and wonderfully clever special effects, I had already read the book, “Thank you very much.”  Mary certainly measures up in my book ~ she is, as she will tell you herself, “practically perfect in every way.”

I met Merlin for the first time by way of introduction by Walt Disney, in the animated story, The Sword in the Stone.  Mesmerized by Merlin, I decided that I too should like to develop the ability to wave a magic wand and change the state of the world around me.  While not nearly as proficient as Merlin, I expect that my talent will continue to develop, especially after receiving a few pointers from him at my party.


While we are on the subject of wizards and wizardry, my next invitee has the dubious distinction of being one of 19 alleged witches hung in Salem Massachusetts in 1692 ~ give it up for my great, great, great . . . . great grandmother, Susannah North Martin, whose trial testimony is testament to her acerbic wit and “devil may care” attitude.

Like many of the alleged witches in Salem, Susannah happened to be a female landowner with no male heirs.  Once accused of witchcraft, she lost her land, but not her sense of self, or her sense of humor.

When asked what she thought of her accusers, she laughed.

When asked why she laughed, she replied, “Well, I may laugh at such folly!”

You go, girl!

As a spiritual seeker, I would be remiss if I did not include as guests those individuals who have understood more of this world than meets the eyes.  Namely, Jesus of Nazareth and Buddha.  Although I have some rather pointed questions to ask them, I anticipate being met with less than pointed responses ~ paradox, my friends, is just the nature of this beast we call life.

Next, I want to invite two individuals presently sharing the planet with us, who understand the challenges we face, and solutions we must implement, if we are to survive as a species:  The 14th Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Many of you will already be familiar with the beliefs of these inspiring individuals.  For those of you who are not, they remind us all of the need to bring full awareness to this moment, both for internal peace of mind, and for achieving lasting peace on earth.

With all that the Dalai Lama has been through, both personally and as the leader of the displaced Tibetan people, he still meets the dawn of each day with a gentle smile on his lips, and ends each evening with gratitude for the grace he has received ~ shouldn’t we, with our less significant daily frustrations, strive to do the same?

Finally, to round out my guest list, two more relatives:  Nora Logie Rogie, my maternal grandmother, and her older sister, Edith Logie.

My grandmother died of bone cancer when I was only 10, despite my best efforts to bargain with God in order to save her life.  When God “failed me” by allowing her to die, I vowed never to believe in “Him” again, and kept that vow for a quarter of a century ~ at which point,  God (a/k/a The Universe) got my attention with the ease of plucking a ripe tomato from an overloaded vine.

Since then, I have felt a connection with Spirit which is both filled with wonder and wonderful.

As we sail around the seas and the Southern Cross, I would chat into the wee hours with my grandmother (who was taken away from me before I could truly appreciate her love and laughter) about things I remember, and things  I never knew. What I remember:

* playing Canasta and laughing
* Mystery Rides ~ once all the way to Maine!
* picnics at Deer Lake, with creamsicles and Adirondack chairs

Grand memories make me want to know more about my mother’s mother.

My grandmother’s sister, my great aunt Edie, lived into her nineties.  When we were young tots, she would entertain us endlessly, playing “Dot to Dot” on a scrap piece of paper, or acting out the skit, Knock on the Door:

* “Knock on the door” (a quick knock on our forehead)
* “Peep in” (pull up on our eyelids)
* “Lift the latch” (pull up on our nose)
* “Brush your feet” (paint an imaginary mustache above our lip) and
* “Walk in” (march two fingers into waiting mouths amid laughter).

So, that’s it.  That’s my list of twelve.  If only there was more room at the table to expand the guest list.

Of course, once a dinner party becomes too large, conversation can become cumbersome.  Perhaps, the solution is to enjoy this party, and then begin planning the next.

Quote: I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.  ~ J.B. Priestley

No rules.  Just write!

Who would you invite?  What would you serve?  Where would you serve it?

Related posts:  Fantasy Dinner Party Challenge * How NOT To Throw A Dinner PartyDescribe a Perfect Meal (WP Prompt) * Dream Dinner (Thoughts From Finchley) * Dream Dinner (WP Prompt)


1. cindy - July 29, 2010

That’s fabulous, I will gatecrash!

nrhatch - July 29, 2010

Please do!

2. Paula - July 29, 2010

Ahh . . .my own blog post for today! Stay tuned – I’ll send you the URL! And thanks! (Love your dinner, BTW – may I be a fly on the wall?)

Paula - July 29, 2010

Instead of a fly (you wouldn’t want any of those at your dinner), perhaps I can be a sea turtle, relaxing near the surface, by your boat, taking in all the conversation. I might even release a bubble (from my mouth – LOL) as a way of responding! 😀

nrhatch - July 29, 2010

I think that I shall expand the guest list and say . . . the more the merrier.

But most of my time will be spent chatting up folks I don’t “see” every day in cyber space.

(That’s the reason Bill isn’t invited ~ we spend time together every day, so I sent him off to create a fantasy dinner party of his own)

Paula - July 29, 2010

My husband will be there – he’s the one serving, and cleaning up after! 😀 I’ll help with washing up – think of the great post-dinner dissection we will have, standing at the sink!

nrhatch - July 29, 2010

I love those sink-side conversations, when we re-live the highlights of delightful evening of entertaining.

nrhatch - July 29, 2010


3. Loreen Lee - July 29, 2010

Loved this post. For me it was fun. May not have completely ‘dug’ the song; not sure I ‘got it’. Only that we ‘make mistakes’. The best.

nrhatch - July 29, 2010

Thanks, Loreen.

The song is one of my favorite sailing songs ~ it sounded better when CSN were younger (i.e., no cracking voices). : )

4. Barbara Gunn - July 29, 2010

As Lawrence Welk would have said “wonderful wonderful”! Sorry I don’t do accents!

nrhatch - July 29, 2010

Accents are a challenge, indeed!

BTW: My Aunt Edie’s favorite show . . . Lawrence Welk!

5. Barbara Gunn - July 29, 2010

I do believe Aunt Edie just said hi! to you! Cool!!

nrhatch - July 29, 2010

Definitely felt like a {{wink}} to me! : )

6. Paula - July 29, 2010
nrhatch - July 29, 2010

Lovely post, Paula!

Loved your guest list, personality descriptions, setting, and (most of) the menu. : )

7. 2e0mca - September 2, 2011

That is a very interesting guest list. So you have witchcraft in the family – The cauldron will come in handy for cooking the vegetable curries 😉

That menu really appeals to me. The only thing missing is the wine list – I assume Jesus has that in hand 🙂

nrhatch - September 2, 2011

Good thought! He would be handy to have at parties, eh?

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