end on a high note

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Desserts, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on September 13, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (1)
I take joy in setting a beautiful table. I love my bone china, sterling and crystal. Creating a place for my guests to sit infused with grace is a simple pleasure.  Many keep their finest tucked away and out of reach. I believe our beautiful things are there to be enjoyed. And with the exception of my silver, I put almost all of it in the
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practice makes perfect

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Dinner Party, Sources, Well Equipped, Fête Fact, Posted on July 6, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
A few weeks ago, after returning to Chicago we had our first dinner party. I was so excited to plan the menu, at long last set our table for more than two, and prep for the evening. I thought I had it all planned out perfectly. Turns out I was more than a little out of practice. I hate when I have people over and I find myself stranded in the
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kiss the miss goodbye

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Cocktail Party, Lunch, Fête Fact, Posted on March 30, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
In a year when many have lost so much it’s difficult to give voice to the special occasions that have evaporated. Quietly everyone is grieving the loss of coming together and celebrating life’s milestones. How many times have we had to plan, cancel, regroup, and reboot? Virtual stand-ins have surely fallen flat. My heart sank a bit when my youngest
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entertaining in the age of social distancing

the virtual gathering
Categories: Soups, Dinner for Two, Supper, Well Equipped, Fête Fact, Posted on March 28, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
It’s a little surreal writing an entertaining blog when we’re being asked to “shelter in”. Three weeks ago I felt like I needed to make food I could bunker in with. I busied myself with filling my freezer and frig. But then as life’s milestones continued… my firstborn’s 30th birthday, my baby’s engagement, and the pending arrival of our third
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a fast break

hostess with the mostest hotel
Categories: Grains and Pasta, Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Eggs, Breakfast/Brunch, Fête Fact, Posted on February 18, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
The best part of having a vacation home is that people come to stay with you. One of the challenges is figuring out how to feed all of those vacationers in a way that doesn’t make you feel like hotel staff. Three meals a day for three days or more is a tall order. Breakfast for a crowd is my Achilles heel. It doesn’t matter how early I wake up
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defining your wheelhouse

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on February 1, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Entertaining is a lot like baseball. To maximize success, you need to figure out how to consistently hit the ball out of the park. That means knowing exactly where in the strike zone you should position yourself. The takeaway here is to realize that your personal sweet spot might not be the same as someone else’s. It’s important to figure out what
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maximize what you do best

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on January 20, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
In entertaining (and in life) certain principles hold true. For example, we should all strive to acknowledge our unique strengths and realize our own limitations. Maximizing what you do best and outsourcing where you fall short will help you succeed wherever you set your mind. Here that means entertaining others in a way that is actually enjoyable.
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put yourself in the equation

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Fête Fact, Posted on January 6, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
How apropos that the start of the new year and decade is 2020. Perhaps all of our resolutions should take a fresh look at things. While some of you might already have long or short lists, I’ll offer up one little challenge- what if in the coming year you pledge to meaningfully connect at your dining room table. Here’s the catch- do it in a way that
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the spread before the spread

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on December 3, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Here’s a holiday quandary- when the pressure is on to put on a lavish holiday meal what can you serve beforehand that will simultaneously delight your guests and not push you over the edge? Disclaimer Thanksgiving dinner is not one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I adore having my house and table brimming with family and friends. It’s just al
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gem of a weekend

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Eating Out, Fête Fact, Posted on November 18, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Two weeks ago, the stars aligned, and my college roommates and I finally got together for the first time in over seven years. Upon seeing each other it was if the last thirty-eight years literally melted away. What a tonic for each of our souls. We laughed, we reminisced, we held one another, and of course we ate (disclaimer: there was also a litt
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