a tale of two tables

entertaining with style- making it work for you

Categories: Fish and Seafood, Grains and Pasta, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on May 14, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten

Well we moved. Twice. 

As I navigate the sea of boxes, I will say there is a certain excitement in unwrapping the boxes and seeing my treasures. I’m going to give myself a little credit, I did a good job of packing up which in turn has made unpacking almost fun. The tricky part was dismantling an old renovated farm house and divvying up our possessions for a future Chicago apartment (we didn’t have one when I began packing) and our house near Palm Springs. I tried to visualize what would look best where. I also worked really hard not to over pack and bring too much to either location.

In Ohio we actually had two dining rooms, which we used daily. One for breakfast and the other for dinner. The morning table was scheduled for California and the evening one for the Windy City.

The upside to our Ohio sale dragging on is that we actually found an apartment in Chicago and signed the lease with only looking at pictures. It felt a little bit like “Let’s Make a Deal”- should you go for the curtain or the box? When the movers loaded on the last of our boxes, first for California then Chicago my husband, Norwich terrier, and I piled into my car and drove to Chicago. As we pulled off I-90 onto Lake Shore Drive we drove north and waved at our apartment for the first time.

We got the keys to the apartment the day before the movers arrived. I haven’t lived in an apartment building since the early 90’s. My husband and dog never have. We entered the elevator and hit the button for our floor. We put the keys in lock and opened the door to our new life in a beautiful prewar apartment with arched hallways and views of the lake. It was love at first sight.

I was excited that this place had a proper dining room, many city apartments don’t. My husband and I had eaten dinner in our dining room every night and the thought of perching at a breakfast bar would have made me very sad. As the movers brought load after load of boxes and asked where they should go, my go-to reply was “in the dining room”. Soon my favorite room looked like a storage unit. But over the course of a couple days I thoughtfully began to put everything in its place. 

My youngest daughter and her boyfriend surprised us with a last minute visit and stayed with us for our move-in weekend. We got to christen our table with one of her favorite meals- penne with sausage.

Four days later my husband, dog, and I boarded a plane to meet the moving truck in California. Before we flew to Ohio for the sale, I sent a bunch of our furniture off to a consignment shop to make room for what I wanted to come. California was truly a blank canvas when we came back proceeding that van’s arrival.

But just as quickly, our California dining room first filled with boxes then began to fall into place. What a treat that my oldest daughter, her husband and vizla puppy were there for that move-in weekend and our first dinner at that dining room table- grilled salmon and parsnip puree

I am relieved that “downsizing”, “packing”, and “moving” will no longer dominate my waking hours. It’s going to be such fun to craft our new lives in these two locations. For me starting a new chapter always revolves around my dining room table. You see like to cook, but I love to entertain. 

One of the most important things is to find your entertaining rhythm. In the next few blog posts I hope to share some of the menus and recipes that work best for me. Seeing the ones in my wheelhouse might inspire you to discover some of your own. And trust me having a few in your back pocket will make all the difference.

Before I close, I must give a huge thank you to Kirste Gaudet, my amazing real estate agent in Chicago and to my best friend Robin for helping us find our apartment. And to Rose Lounsbury, my minimalist coach in Ohio, who help me organize my move- she was truly a game changer. To Mary and Mae who helped me pack with such care, to Mayberry Movers who moved us so expertly. To Ramon who helped me visualize and unpack so thoughtfully in Chicago. And to my daughter and her husband who were the best Mother’s Day present ever and helped me put everything in its place in California.

I feel so utterly fortunate to have two places that already feel so much like home. Let the dinners begin!

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