Flambeed food

summary: memory of dining without our parents at the Fort Gary Hotel – I was 14; my sister was 10

On Sunday, 19 September, 2004, Donna Marie Zotter at There’s a Chef in My Kitchen will be hosting “Is My Blog Burning? Eighth Edition — Lift your Spirits High!” The only rule for IMBB#8: use wine or spirits as a central component of your recipe! Everyone is welcome. read more here….

As I was thinking about what we might prepare for this event, it reminded me of one of my first really memorable dining experiences. It was a summer holiday evening when I was 14. My younger sister and I were sent to the Fort Gary Hotel dining room in Winnipeg to dine while my parents went off to a wedding reception.

Dad made reservations (no doubt assuring the maitre d’ that we would behave) and gave me instructions on what to say when we got there, told me how to calculate the tip and to sign the dinner to our hotel room, reminded us both about sitting up straight, using our serviettes and how to choose which fork when. I was put in complete charge and told we could order anything we would like.

So, dressed to the nines, we presented ourselves in the dining room at the appointed time. We were greeted like royalty and led to our linen covered table that sparkled with silver and crystal. I felt particularly grown up when the waiter asked if I’d like a cocktail while my sister had a soft drink before dinner. (I can’t imagine what he would have done if I had taken him up on the offer instead of giggling and saying I wasn’t old enough….)

So what did we two wide eyed girls order for dinner? We studied the menu carefully and chose anything that could be flambéed. We had chateau briand for our main course and cherries jubilee for dessert. (The appetizer has faded from my memory… it wasn’t flambéed.) I’m not sure who was more entertained, we two being waited on hand and foot, eating really wonderful food and being treated as grownups; or the entire staff and other guests in that candlelit dining room seeing our delight in everything that occurred.

It really was one of the most wonderful dinners and the perfect precursor to what has become a lifetime of fine dining, whether flambeed or not, whether in ornate or simple surroundings.

Hmmm, what shall we prepare for the 19 September?

edit June 2014: Please see Cherry Season = Cherries Jubilee