When we entertain it's easy to feel overwhelmed (and exhausted) by creating a menu that impresses. But really, if we focus on fresh seasonal ingredients then they are often beautiful on their own.
I mentioned in past posts that I take a lot of inspiration from Italy and France. And often focus on a few quality ingredients. A slice of double cream brie on sourdough. Fresh seasonal tomatoes with basil, olive oil and buffalo mozzarella. Fish grilled in olive oil, garlic and lemon served with steamed broccolini.
It's when I keep foods simple that I'm inspired. And when I complicate things that I'm left frazzled and don't enjoy eating as much.
I feel quite frustrated when I sit down in a restaurant to a menu resembling something of a small novel. More choice can often create confusion. The same goes with overcomplicating the foods we prepare.
By keeping food simple it means we can enjoy spending time with our loved ones rather than cooking frantically in the kitchen all day long. Not to mention having less washing up to do after they leave.
I think it's also important to allow children to appreciate food when it's kept simple, rather than overly processed food. Like placing a bowl of beautiful fresh seasonal strawberries in the backyard on a sunny afternoon. Or sharing the experience of tasting a slither of Parmigiano-Reggiano together as a pasta cooks on the stove. And take the time to teach them how to prepare simple foods themselves.
By keeping food and entertaining simple, we make time to experience and feel life. We make time to connect with others. And potentially feel calmer in the process.