Saturday, September 6, 2008


Planning meals needs thought, enthusiasm and consideration.
It is useless to invite three generations and expect them to eat the same food. Older folks prefer food they know and recognize. Kids like the food you always make. They need the assurance that the roast chicken, roast potatoes and rice will always be the same. They want avocado and tomato as they imagine it. Carrots cannot be disguised and, chips or French fries must always be accompanied by ketch up. So what if you want to cater gourmet, nouvelle cuisine, macrobiotic and Italian foods? You need to plan and create foods to suite everyone at the table. In many homes, the festivals have traditional foods. While grandma was brought up on those and made them for you, your kids of this global era won't want them. Few kids want chopped herring and gefilte fish………they do not want suet puddings. Steamed tapioca and sago either. So do what you have to do. Plan the meal for the people at the table.

Holidays demand a larger meal and luscious desserts. The idea is to linger longer and enjoy the togetherness and chatting, while you eat slowly.

I find that the planning of table, chairs, cushions for little ones, back cushions for grand pa, ample serviettes, lots of glasses and cool water, ice and fruit juices, need to be on .hand. The table cannot be overcrowded, because passing up and down is a chore. So have a drinks table on the side. Have all the main courses near the stove. You can create a buffet space and have the plates there too. Have cutlery and condiments on the table. Match serviettes, candles and cloths. Harmony begins when you look down.

The dessert plates, spoons, forks and small serviettes should be on a separate tray. Coffee. Teas, kid's beverages and cups, saucers, cake plates and ice cream bowls, can be arranged in another corner, or on a tray wagon. As the hostess you will find that planning is smart, comfortable for everyone and gives you a sense of confidence that the evening or lunch is organized for maximum enjoyment.

Do not experiment with a whole new menu that you throw together before they came. Forget about serving hot soup in plastic melt down dishes. Decide if you like throw away or china. I recommend china for the main course. This way you need to have small plates to start and the dessert can be on paper goods. Have kitchen cloths and paper towels for spills and unexpected dramas.
Always keep ice cream cones and cookies for kids, who did not eat enough. Keep rice crackers and cheese handy, in case a guest is allergic or needs sugar free food. Do not load the food with garlic, sesame seeds and peanut butters. Allergic people cannot tolerate these.
Remember to ask people you do not know well, if there are foods they cannot partake of. You will be surprised what people cannot eat. So when you make a list and find eleven of your friends are allergic and three others like weird foods, you then switch the plans and go out? Kids who sleep over need to tell you what their preference is for cereals and breakfast…….they usually have breakfasts an hour before lunch.

They find it difficult that I made all the food from scratch……………. What do they think; we have a team of elves who come in at night?

Throw away guilt. You married for better and worse and no one said anything about three meals a day. When my friend retired, he was shocked to find out how much time his wife spent shopping, cooking and baking, serving and clearing up after meals. He had never given this task any thought. He figured out by reducing three meals to two and then to one, she was a different person. Relaxed and there was time to go out and have fun. Living each day with a little leisure time is essential. So I plan to help you find leisure time that comes from organizing your thinking re shopping and meals.


Plan the main meal with a protein as the centre of it. But also create two vegetables that are half the meal Carbohydrates, pasta, rice and grains can be the main part of the meal with vegetables as the other half.

Choose vegetables in season, and steam them. Skip heavy sauces. Just use techina or humus. This is easy to mix with olive oil. Lemon juice and herbs. Keep the dressing in the fridge. For extra taste sprinkle oregano, basil, dried onions and zatar, that is hyssop, on vegetables


Prepare a fresh salad and the dressing. Use vegetables that are not in the cooked part of the meal. You can do a salad of baby leaves, thinly sliced cucumbers and a very finely chopped red onion, two fresh pears sliced thin. To make sure they do not discolor sprinkle lemon juice over them. Soak 2 tablespoons raisins and 2 tablespoons walnuts in orange juice or with the pears in lemon juice. Before serving combine all on an individual plate for each guest and grate feta over the salad. Use an olive oil and balsamic dressing, herb salt and pepper in it. Serve with whole wheat grissini sticks or toast that is cut into strips. Place a herbed butter on the table for the toast. Butter blended with pesto, dried tomatoes or basil and parsley is a good mixture.


Choose a large pot and a packet of good pasta. Make extra and you can be sure it works the day after too. Cook as instructed.
Slice two to three cloves of garlic, two large onions, two zucchini, two grated carrots, one red pepper and a yellow one, one cup of sliced green onions. Lightly fry the garlic and onions in a saucepan, in olive oil on a low flame. Add the carrots, then zucchini, peppers and sauté until done. Add herb salt and pepper, half a teaspoon of oregano and basil. Lastly stir in the green onions and put aside. Mix in two cups of yogurt while it is warm. Some people prefer one yogurt and one cream. Mix through well. Drain the pasta and put into a large serving dish. Pour the lovely sauce over it all and sprinkle two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese over this. Sprinkle cut up fresh parsley as you serve and some roasted sesame seeds. They give a festive look. If you are making it for serving later, only add the parsley and sesame seeds before serving.
Consider the guests. For the kids they prefer grated yellow cheese and do not like too much sprinkled over it.
Serve the pasta with some peas or edamame beans on the side and steamed cut up pumpkin.

This is optional and depends on the number of guests.


I know that a wicked dessert goes well with pasta. But in order to remain Sane and Sensible, buy Golden Delicious apples. Wash and core them, fill the centre with cut up dried apricots, raisins, some figs and dates. For eight apples you only need eight pieces of fruit. Wash and cut up tiny. Fill the apple and add a little orange juice and a dash of

Cinnamon on each. Place in an oven dish with water that goes half way and bake covered in a medium oven for thirty minutes. Baste once or twice. You can use red wine or fruit juice in the dish too. I serve the baked apple on a medium size plate with hot custard, or vanilla ice cream. Soya caramel or vanilla ready puddings work as well. For an extra bit of style, buy frozen or fresh berries and warm up a saucepan with blended fruit in season. Add a bit of liquor or grated ginger. Pour on the side and place some flower petals there. Finish the presentation with a sprinkling of cake icing sugar through a strainer.

Enjoy. To top of the meal have the tea tray ready. People like to choose, but a pot of mint tea is great. Simply boil the water, add fresh mint leaves, a dash of honey or sugar and let it stand. Pour into colorful glasses and serve with a chocolate. Have a great week and find time to put your feet up and relax. Find time to chat to those you love. The beginning of September is a busy time. New school situations, holidays coming up, seasons are changing……..lots to do. Make a list and feel good about your ability to do what you have to do.

I wish you love and light and gentle vibrations to make your week sweet.


Anonymous said...

Hello Rona Kruger
I think your ideas are very sane and very sensible! Do you by any chanse give live demonstration's?
Thank you.

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