Last night I made dinner for New York Times food columnist Marian Burros and her friend Julian Armstrong, food columnist and former food editor of the Montreal Star and Montreal Gazette.
Both women have published multiple cookbooks and have had illustrious careers in food journalism. Marian even has an Emmy!
Marian has a summer home up here, and we’ve gotten to know one another socially over the years. She wrote that nice piece about us that was published in Edible last year.
We saw her earlier this spring and I told her a bit about this dinner party project of mine, to which she replied “So how do I get an invitation?”. Our friends Linda and Sheldon were also able to join us, and it was so nice to catch up with them.
I knew that if I were to serve some fancy 10-course French dinner it would feel totally contrived and inauthentic, and that I was trying too hard to impress.
So I decided to go the opposite direction and serve a menu inspired by the Midwestern Swedish food of my childhood.
We started with a good old-fashioned cheese ball, along with husk cherries, currants, and my own dilly beans.
Then I rang the dinner bell and we transitioned to the dining room, where I prayed in Swedish before we enjoyed roasted & pickled beets with a horseradish créme fraîche and bronze fennel.
Traditional Swedish meatballs were next, served atop sour cream & chive mashed potatoes and buttery maple roasted carrots along with a pickled cucumber salad.
In lue of lingonberry jam we passed around a gorgeous cherry fennel sherry preserve made by V Smiley Preserves.
No special Swedish meal is complete without fruktsoppa, or fruit soup, which I made using Vermont-grown cherries, plums, strawberries, blueberries, and apples, with Pennsylvania peaches. And we ended the evening with a splash of Quebec-made amaro.
Marian was the restaurant critic at The Times for a while, and at the end of the evening she said “You would have gotten very high marks for this.”