So, What Was for Dinner at the Chicago Botanic Garden?

Do you remember sitting around the table passing food to family and guests when you were growing up?  Are your memories of family dinners then, different from your experience of meals today?  Do you have a recent memory of communing with family or friends through food?

At table, our Chicago Botanic Garden farm dinner began with a beautiful plate of charcuterie, a meat board created by Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions Delicatessen.  True charcuterie –  terrines, galantines, confit – is an art nearly lost in our fast food society today.

Next was a beautiful arugula, watercress and chard salad garnished with radish and egg.  Handed friend to new friend.  Artisan beer and wine accompaniments.

There were two delectable entrees.  First, a smoked peach and fennel pork accompanied by quinoa with kale and shaved carrot.  Next, a sage and butter-roasted chicken, a summer bean succotash with smoked ham and roasted garlic corn on the cob.

Cleetus casted out adroitly as if with a fishing rod… giving us some line with each course, skillfully dancing with each beer and wine accompaniment, then reeling us in long enough to repeat the delicious cycle.

The piece de resistance, if one can imagine it, was a glorious box of handmade truffles… Katherine Anne Confections.

Yes, Katherine sat next to us.

The memory of the evening, the meal, the new acquaintances, the Garden, lingers long.  If there is inspiration to be gained from the farm dinner, it’s that any food event, large or small, can be of quality and intimacy.

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