We are knee deep in the season of entertaining.  I don’t know about you, but we’ve already had some wonderful small dinners here at FrenchGardenHouse over the last month.



Sometimes 3 in one week! And co-hosted a drinks-and-appetizers hour before the theatre for 20-30 guests. {That might as well be called supper since the appetizers take the place of a true dinner.} Hosted a fun, casual harvest dinner get-together for our family around the fire-pit in the back garden.

It’s been a busy time since we got home from our last European antique buying trip. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and then the big winter holidays. Hanukkah. Christmas. New Year’s Eve.



I have been thinking about the magic of entertaining and sharing a meal with others.  {In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve used these photos before. I’m getting ready for one of my little people to visit for Thanksgiving week, and well, I’m thinking and planning things to make her visit exciting and fun.  So I’m recycling the table setting. Please forgive me!}


If you’ve read my blog for a while then you know that for me, planning the table usually comes before planning the menu.  Not that the food isn’t something I give thought to, but creating the atmosphere is more my thing.



I adore the glittering tablescapes, lighting candles, sparkling cut crystal glasses, the flowers and or fruit centerpieces, the wine or champagne.  All the pretty things we place on the table to let our guests know we love having them over.


But there are plenty of times I remember fondly a meal shared with family and friends that didn’t include any or all those things…pizza in a take-out pizza place, Christmas eve dinner at K-Mart, {of all places – long story}, lunch and gelato at a little stand in Parma, Italy.



So what makes a memorable luncheon or dinner? Is it a stunning French tablecloth? Embroidered linen napkins? Antique ironstone dishes? Or?


What parties do you remember with the greatest fondness?



If you think back to the best dinner parties or events you have been fortunate to attend or host, what about those was the “secret sauce” that made it just a little better?



The setting? The food?


Individual Apple Pies


Or was it simply getting together with people you love and sharing food and laughter around the table?  I think it’s a little of everything….but most important is that we, the hosts, are welcoming, relaxed, kind and caring.



What do you think is the secret to GREAT ENTERTAINING?



à bientôt


    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Janet. I hope yours is delightful!

  1. Alice Genzlinger

    Lidy, I envy your energy. I enjoy cooking for family and friends but at my age I must plan ahead to get it done. Not that I haven’t always planned ahead but now must make sure to get lots done ahead of time. Have fed many people in the past as my husband had lived all over the world making many friends along the way so we could get surprised visitors anytime they were traveling through Denver. The one meal I remember most was a couple he had known during his employment with NOAA that he surprised me by asking them for dinner. About an hour before their expected arrival they called to ask is they could bring a friend and we said yes. After all we always make more than necessary just in case. When the three showed up we found the surprise guest was a French chef. Oh my lord. I served prime rib and sides . The chef asked for my recipes.

    1. Alice, what a delightful story! I love that, and it goes to prove what I mean, when you serve a meal with love, everyone loves it! : )

  2. Marianne Braun

    Lidy, I think you summed up with wisdom and delicacy the most important elements in entertaining. We
    all learn so much from you, in both decorating and in attitude.

    1. Marianne, I agree with you, in most things in life attitude (a good one!) is everything isn’t it? xo

  3. Happy Thanksgiving Lidy. You are a master of entertaining. Please tell me you have ‘staff’ or at least help to balance your business and personal life. Inspiring.

  4. Lisa, I would love “staff” – wouldn’t that be amazing? The only “staff” I have here is Bentley, our Labrador, and he is more talented at getting in the way than anything else!

    I have gotten pretty good at balancing the business with my personal life ove the years. And live by that rule of “it’s the people we love that matter most” like Shannon mentioned in her comment.

    I wish you a beautiful time with the ones that you love best gathered around your table!

    Xo Lidy

    1. Thank you so much Sandra, I hope your Thanksgiving is delightful too! xo

  5. Shannon@Belle Bleu Interiors

    Lidy, such a beautiful post….it’s the time spent with those we love that matter the most. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!!!

  6. Thank you so much, Shannon, Happy Thanksgiving to you too, sweet friend.

  7. All of your tables are so beautiful! I always say it’s the company of family and friends that makes any party. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. I sincerely get so much inspiration from your blog, Lidy. This is a gorgeous table!! I’m in awe that you served appetizers for such a large group–please do a post on your tips!! And how you set up. I noticed the pretty rose colored glasses on your table and it reminded me that I have some deep green glasses much the same in my storage/hoarding room (!!!). Time to bring those babies up!!

    Love to you and Happy Thanksgiving to your lovely family!

  9. Sharon CrigSt

    What a lovely blog post with great food for thought. Some of my greatest parties weren’t really parties at all, but surprise impromptu times with family and friends. Simple food, simple ambiance and lots of love, fun and laughter!

  10. Sharon, that sums it up beautifully, doesn’t it? Food, ambience, love, fun and laughter! The perfect ingredients for any kind of gathering.

  11. Lidy, my mother had a magic touch when it came to having family and friends sit at her table. Her food was legendary! To receive an invitation to her home for dinner was more than just the fabulous food, she made you feel so special. All of the pretties in the world could never have replaced how much love came from her heart. I miss her every day. Happy Thanksgiving my friend!

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