Herbert has been a part of a men's cooking club for over ten years. On one Friday evening every month, he and nine other men get together and cook. They are able to use the kitchen of one of the local nursing homes, since all the residents are upstairs by that time.
There is always a 'cooking boss' and this position rotates throughout the group from month to month. The cooking boss is responsible for designing the menu, selecting the wine, purchasing all the groceries and then guiding all the other guys as they prepare the dishes.
Although there aren't any women allowed in the club, I have had the opportunity to join them for three of their regular evenings in the past six years. I can say from experience that the meals they make are unbelievably delicious and each course is eaten with leisure. They take pride, not only in the taste of the food, but in how it's presented. For one meal, I watched two of the guys spend over ten minutes deciding on how to arrange the dessert on the plate.
Every Christmas, they invite all the wives/partners to join them for the evening and they cook for us. This year, Herbert was the 'cooking boss' for the Christmas dinner. Normally, if it's Herbert's turn to be in charge, the guys like him to choose an Asian menu because he's very good at that and they don't normally cook that type of food. This year, Herbert picked a western menu of some of our favorite recipes that we've made in the past year.
There were fifteen of us this year, and we had a wonderful evening. The pictures below show the rest of the story.
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|1 - Because Herbert was the one in charge this year, I had the responsibility of decorating the table. I used some of the stuff I've used on our tables at home in the past. Everyone commented that the table was very romantic. I hadn't planned on that, but with 38 candles, I can see where it came off that way.||2 - Bruno, Kurt and Jürg cooking.||3 - Jürg slicing the pork filet.|
|4 - Sep and Marc making the appetizers.||5 - Herbert being the 'boss' and looking over the salads. Bruno did a great job of arranging the salads into a work of art.||6 - Herbert opening a bottle of wine.|
|7 - After the ladies arrived, the guys took a break from cooking to join us for a wine toast and 'apero'.||8 - Me at the 'apero', talking with Sep and his wife Ruth.||9 - For the apero, they made some of my recipes for small tarts. Some were with bacon, Swiss cheese and tomato, some had crab meat and artichokes and some had cream cheese with apricots and red pepper.|
|10 - The appetizer was a recipe I had from my friend Susan in Denver - baked brie with fig jam, served with crustini.||11 - The salad was called 'California Salad' and had curried chicken, pear and varies greens.||12 - Soup was 'The Soup Nazi's Sweet Potato Soup' with cashews and cream. The recipe comes from the Seinfeld show and I had gotten the recipe off the internet.|
|13 - The main course was pork filet, which Kurt had marinated and slow cooked to perfection. It was served with morel mushroom sauce, butter noodles and mixed vegies.||14 - The last course... miniature apple pies with cinnamon and vanilla ice cream.||15 - Kurt pouring wine before the main course.|
|16 - Kurt, Rosemary and Sep.||17 - Sonya, Jürg and Jacqueline.||18 - Bruno, Lotti and Peter.|
|19 - Peter and Rosemary||20 - One of the wives had come back from the bathroom and told me to come look at what one of the house cats had done. He was laying in the middle of the nativity scene and stayed there while I took this photo.||21 - Our 'romantic' table.|
|10 - At the end of the evening, we had to clean everything up. The table was so large and everyone wondered how to get the heavy tray of candles out of the center. No problem for me. I crawled up on the table and moved it. Apparently that wasn't normal behavior for a 'lady' and everyone got a good laugh out of it. I saw it as just getting the job done.||11 - Here's the look I gave Herbert when I realized that he was capturing the moment with the camera.|