Unveiling the menu

Every year around this time, I take a step back and ask myself, “Why the hell did I enter to compete in the state fair?”

One very hot summer, I spent days hunched over the dollhouse I built, painting tiny door and window moldings while sweat streamed down my neck.

Another sweltering year, I made multiple batches of chocolate chip cookies, carefully measuring the each cookie so that I would have six perfect cookies – uniform in size, color, and perfectly placed chocolate chips.

Last year, I spent days molding tiny pieces of clay fruit and cakes, and covering tiny books with decorative paper (at least we had air conditioning at that point!) for dollhouse furniture.

Today, as spent the morning searching for the perfect font and then analyzing every white porcelain dish at Crate and Barrel, I asked myself that same question. What the hell am I doing right now?

When I signed up for the “Table Decorating” category back in June, I really thought I would have my shit together one week before the actual competition. Now that it’s August, and I’m looking at the requirements of the competition, it’s like SO MUCH MORE than I expected.

First, what is my theme? What’s the meal? Dinner? Brunch? How formal or informal is it? What’s my color scheme? What’s actually on the menu? How do I design a menu that fits my theme? What dishes do I need? Will the napkins match the tablecloth? What about glasses? A centerpiece? Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

I’m a casual west coast girl. We don’t do elegant dinner parties in my family – it’s more of a potluck kind of thing. And while I’ve been to some fancy events in my life, my table should represent me, right?

This morning I met a friend for breakfast and gave her some tips on her upcoming trip to Amsterdam. Despite popular opinion that food in Amsterdam sucks, I thought it was really good (better than Paris!), so I went to work on a menu. Breakfast, that is.

For me, breakfast should be casual and not overloaded with too many smells (namely onions, peppers, and sausage). In Amsterdam, we ate every morning at the same pancake house and while it was simple, it was really good.

Thus here you have it: Breakfast in Amsterdam. Keep in mind, it’s just a draft, and later to be printed on some hearty cardstock.

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 3.52.09 PM

Basically, if I were to plan out my perfect breakfast – this is it (especially since I basically never eat carbs). Then I picked a color palette in my head, make a checklist of all the items I will probably need, and started my hunt.

This whole week will be devoted to finding all the other items on my list (bread basket, water tumblers, utensils, tablecloth, cheese knife……….).

I hate this process; I’m not the kind of person who wants to agonize over just the right sugar spoon. Yet next week when my friend, Courtney, and I set up the table at the actual fairgrounds, I’m sure we will have a good time.

If you don’t try, you can’t win.

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