Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Purple Dress Dinner

A few weeks back, while I was hitting the yard sales with my host daughter Y, I saw a purple gown priced at Miser Mom prices (less than $1).  "This looks like an incredibly fun dress," I told her, "but nowadays I never get a chance to dress up for fancy dinners.  I know I'd never have an occasion to wear it."  (Sad face).

I got ready to move on, but Y said, "Well, why don't you just make an occasion to wear it?  We could have a fancy dress dinner!"  A bit more back-and-forth, and the idea of "The Purple Dress Dinner" emerged.

My hero Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) once wrote that you know you've created a Family Tradition when your children complain that you're doing things the wrong way.  So I was delighted when K-daughter, presented with the idea of The Purple Dress Dinner a few days later, protested that June is supposed to be The Underwater Dinner!  We've always done it that way!  (Which is true if by "always" you mean "two or three times now".)  So we decided to splurge and have two special dinners in June this year.

On the agenda for The Purple Dress Dinner:  purple dresses (but of course), fancy finger-ish foods, followed by "a stroll".  As the evening got underway, we also added candles (because, fancy) and my grandmother's dinner bell, because somehow we wound up with 9 people and with that many people having so much fun, we needed a way to call attention to time to sit down, and time to stroll.  And dinner bells are fun, too.

The menu was a lot of what-I-had-in-the-fridge, but fortunately I had some lovely fridge materials.

It's strawberry season, so I made strawberry-watermelon kebobs, plus had a giant bowl of strawberries to nosh on.

Plus we had "self-contained salad" (Swiss chard leaves rubbed with dressing, and then rolled into tubes), grilled kohlrabi chips, and some yummy muffin-shaped quiches, flavored with my recently made carrot-top pesto.

Not pictured here are another kind of salad and my favorite-to-make dessert, a Brazilian Chocolate Coffee Cake.  Scrumptious.

After dinner we went outside for the obligatory photo, . . .

. . . and then took a mile-long Stroll around the park bordering my campus.  Tons of fun waving at passers by.  N-son, who declined to wear a purple dress, rode his bike in circles around us so we declared him our "escort".  One of the serendipitous discoveries is that a nearby community rose garden happens to be in full bloom this time of year.  That alone made everyone decide that, not only do we have to do TPDD again next year, but we have to do it in June.  So.

Of course, there were other pretty (but not time-particular) sights; my campus has beautiful buildings, plus fun sculpture for climbing.

By the time we returned from our stroll, several very enjoyable hours had elapsed.  I rang my grandmother's bell and announced that The Purple Dress Dinner was officially over.  Hugs and farewells.