Braised Savoy Cabbage; The Dinner Party

I first discovered Savoy cabbage about 3 years ago and it’s been one of my favorite winter vegetables ever since.

It cooks faster and is much more tender than the more common (in the US, anyway) white cabbage (think cole slaw).

It adds just the right crunch to stir-fries, it’s great added to soups and stews and delicious on it’s own.

This was one of the vegetables I served at our dinner party last night.  I’ll post the rest of the menu tomorrow.

I cooked this slowly, over low heat, to work with the timing of the rest of the dinner.

The recipe, Braised Savoy Cabbage, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Braised Savoy Cabbage.

We had a small dinner party last night – the first in our new dining room.

Entertaining is different here than it was when we lived in the US.

I don’t know if it’s because we’re older, because styles and times have changed or if it’s because of where we are.

When we lived in the US and had friends over, everyone hung out in my kitchen – watching, helping, tasting, drinking wine and talking.

They helped serve the food and clear the plates.

When the evening was over they offered to help clean-up (not accepted, but they offered)

It’s totally different here – at least with the people we know, both here in France and in Andorra.

No one comes into the kitchen…. Ever.

When friends arrive they go into the living room (or where ever), relax, have a glass of champagen and nibble on crisps or nuts.

When the first course is on the table and the wine poured they go into the dining room.

We all sit down, toast and eat.

After the first course the hostess (that would be me) and spouse clear the plates, serve the next course and pour the next wine…. Then sit down and eat.

The same for the cheese course and the dessert course.

When dinner is over the friends go back to the living room while the hostess (that would be me) and spouse make and serve coffee, tea and chocolates.

At the end of the evening, the friends leave and the hostess (that would be me) and spouse stare at the plates, glasses, cups, pots and pans that cover every surface in the kitchen, shake their heads and go to bed.

At no time did any of our friends even poke their head into the kitchen.

I spent the entire evening going from frantic cook in the kitchen to relaxed hostess in the dining room…. Having a sip of champagne in the living room and a wee chat to dashing to the kitchen to stir, check the oven and adjust the temperature under the pots….

All the while giving the impression that the entire meal was ready and simply waiting to be effortlessly produced.

When it’s our turn to host we do all the work….

When it’s our turn to be a guest we do nothing.

It all works out – it just took a bit of getting used to.

How do you entertain?

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7 thoughts on “Braised Savoy Cabbage; The Dinner Party”

  1. I cook and do dishes. Everyone helps move stuff in and out. We eat outside.
    Everyone helps pour wine and whatever is their choice indulgence. Everyone plays together; seems more fun to me.

  2. I’m a good ol’ midwesterner and have people wandering in and out of the kitchen constantly while I’m cooking. Poking, peeking, tasting…it’s all part of the dinner party thing to me. They fetch and carry if I let them and they too always offer to clean or at least help and I always decline, but the camaraderie would be hard to give up.
    The recipe looks wonderful! I love cabbage, but I’m used to doing mine with white cabbage, butter, onions, garlic and noodles. A Czech recipe my mother in law taught me. I’m anxious to try this one.

  3. I come from the “old school” where guests are guests and hosts do it all. However, over the years, I have relaxed somewhat to let guests help with filling water glasses, opening the wine, slicing the bread – small chores that help me relax when I know they are being done and that let the guests feels as if they are making a contribution.
    I try to plan menus that don’t require me to be in the kitchen while the guests are here – so much nicer to make something easy like rack of lamb that cooks in a few minutes but still makes a nice presentation.
    Also, I do now let people bring salad or dessert if they really want to. But, I am firmly opposed to letting guests do dishes (unless they are house guests staying for a long time). We always do them ourselves and my “good china” is mostly not dishwasher safe, either, so we end up doing it all (including the silver) by hand. I always insist on doing it that night, as I find nothing more discouraging than waking up to all that mess. We wash, we dry what must be dried (wood, silver) and leave the rest to air dry, just putting it away in the morning.
    it’s tiring, but then I love the next morning when I have those beautiful things to put away and lovely memories of how everyone could just relax and enjoy the evening.

  4. The Oz style of dinner party is like the USA variety – everyone hangs around the kitchen bench – I think that is why we all have open plan living areas and formal dining areas are nearly defunct.

  5. Sounds exhausting. Guess hosting a large dinner party in order to enjoy the reciprocal invitations is next.
    I would help the host(s)!

  6. Ours is a sort of mix of the two. We all hang out in the kitchen while dinner is being prepared, but the guests and whoever isn’t doing any cooking, relax with drinks and crudites, invariably paying no attention whatsoever to the person cooking. Then when dinner is served, we all sit down in the dining room and the person who has cooked arranges the plates and serves. Our guests occasionally offer to help clear the table but we always decline.
    Dishes are done later, much later – after the guests have gone home – long after they have gone home.

  7. Phoenicia, playing together makes all the entertaining more fun….
    Theo, I used to do it with white cabbage… I switched LOL. In the US, everyone was always in my kitchen, too.
    Zoomie, I wouldn’t trust myself to be careful enough at night (early morning)… As to people bringing something…. Unheard of – although last Christmas we did have a ‘communal dinner’ for the few of us who were here. Hmmmm….
    manningroad, and I have a huge kitchen, perfect for people hanging out – but no one comes in.
    Linda, it is tiring, but, like Zoomie, I try to get almost everything done ahead. Lot of prep and planning.
    Elizabeth, my personality tends to be more relaxed, but I’m learning to relax and fit in both….

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