turning the page

entertaining with style- making it work for you

Categories: Fête Fact, Posted on April 13, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten

How many of you know that poignant feeling that rises up when you finish a really, really good book? I almost cried when I put down “Where the Crawdads Sing”. Tears did roll down my cheeks as I closed “Bel Canto” and “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats”. One of my greatest pleasures is reading a truly well written, beautifully crafted work of fiction. They always seem to transport me.

Sometimes in life you are literally transported. As you flip through the pages and the story grows you traverse unfamiliar roads that become second nature, embark on new career paths, and encounter strangers who become dear friends. That bittersweet moment has happened for us. Our Dayton chapter is coming to a close. And that same tender and heart tugging feeling is hitting me in waves.

For the past eight past years I’ve built a home and a life here. I moved to Dayton not knowing a soul. In my typical analytical way, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to retire from my thirty-year career, send my youngest off to college, and pack up the home I raised my children in all within a month’s time. Needless to say, I was a literal basket case when I arrived. I used to drive with my yellow lab riding shotgun to Ashley’s Bakery in Oakwood to get one of their apple turnovers. On the way back, I would share my sticky fingers with my only friend and silently cry. 

Soon after one of my dearest friends and acclaimed food writer, Michael Ruhlman, suggested I write an entertaining blog. Andshecooks2.com began with a dinner for some of my husband’s colleagues. One of the best things about entertaining is that you can literally cook up a new life. So every two weeks I invited someone over and wrote about it. My online pages turned into chapters that twisted and turned into a beautiful story. 

As I pack up our renovated farmhouse, I find myself getting choked up. While none of our five children lived here, this house on Little Woods Lane has truly been a home. So much of our life occurred here. I adored restoring an acre and half of gardens. Filling our dining room table with a myriad of friends. Sitting in my lofted screen porch watching the southern thunderstorms roll in. Then filling with glee when the whole-house generator we finally installed kicked on. 

Walking the lane first with Lucy, then Willie, neighbors became good friends.

I had the opportunity to volunteer in the community in a meaningful way. My tenure on the board of Dayton Public Radio was enriching. And I am thrilled that I can stream DPR live anywhere in the world by telling Alexa to “play Discover Classical on tune-in”. Now I hear all the familiar voices and wonderful 24-hour classical music wherever I am. 

Rolling up my sleeves, donning worn gardening gloves and working beside the amazing women of the Garden Club of Dayton has truly shaped my life. It’s hard seeing my screen as I try to type the words to tell them how much they have meant to me. They took me in as a transplant, worked their propagation magic, and helped me flourish and grow.

Oh and then there is Dorothy Lane Market. It is seriously the greatest grocery store in the world.

Each morning a grab a cup of coffee.

Then push my cart through the inside farmers market.

Past the freshest catch.

Gorgeous cuts of beef.

And worlds of cheese and wine.

Teaching alongside Peggy and Carrie at DLM’s Culinary Center has been one of the highpoints. 

Well it’s time to get back to the boxes and my methodical layouts for a three-pronged move to Chicago, California and storage. While it’s almost time to set this Dayton book down, thankfully I still have a few more pages to savor.

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