Gourmet Dinner ~ Budget Pricing

Posted by on January 4, 2011

With all the talk of the “economic downturn”  I know people are looking for ways to still enjoy life and feel a bit extravagant – without breaking the bank. One of the best ways I know of is to dine in.

While we were in Tucson visiting family we lavished luxury on ourselves with a “Crystal Dinner.” Basically this means that we ate at home but set the scene as if we were a 5 star restaurant. It wasn’t quick or easy but it was worth it.

Sarah (Dave’s sister) hatched this idea for a few different reasons: 1) a fun thing to do when we came to visit, 2) as a way to remember and honor their mother and 3) a perfect opportunity to use the Fostoria that had been handed down to her and that she had augmented through multiple years of garage sales.

Now, I’m not saying the dinner was cheap, but compared to dining out we probably cut the budget by half. Here’s the dinner:

Crystal dinner setting for 10 - includes commemorative personalized holiday ornaments.

This dinner is a great excuse to haul out all the odd-ball serving pieces like this specialized appetizer tray.

German Composed Salad

Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Lemon Sorbet to cleanse the palate (made from lemons from the back yard tree).

Leg o' Lamb stuffed with garlic and encrusted with herbs.

Mint jelly in the cute little jelly dish.

Dilly Bread

Steamed Asparagus - check out the specialty asparagus serving dish.

Barley - sounds dull I know, but it wasn't. It was one of the favorite dishes of the night.

We had to have gravy and lemon wedges so we could use the dishes.

Chocolate cake with a hard chocolate glaze - oh boy was this rich. Look at the cake serving platter.

Raspberry sauce for the cake. Mmmmm.

Top it all off with coffee and specialty holiday drinks.

This dinner took 3 days to pull off. Day 1: wash all the crystal and polish the silver. Day 2: Cook everything from scratch, visit with family and eat the dinner. Day 3: You guessed it – clean up. Wash the crystal and silver and put it all away.

If you are like us and you have more time than money, this is a great way to spend time with family and friends. I’d recommend it if you are the other way too (more money than time). This dinner made a trip that we will not forget.

3 Responses to Gourmet Dinner ~ Budget Pricing

  1. Aunt Lisa

    Even though I heard all about the “Crystal” dinner, the pictures make it all the more awesome. Wish we had been there, too!

    Just a little history: the original dishes were collected by our mother’s mother, Elna Evalina Hartquist Shaw. Her husband, Ernest James (EJ), bought one piece each week from the salary he received as a conductor on the Chicago-Northwestern rail line that ran through their home town of Boone, Iowa. Eva ended up with most of a 12-piece setting and several serving dishes. When she died in 1960, Doris’s and my mother, Crystal, inherited the dishes and had them shipped out to Tombstone, Arizona. She used them on special occasions for a few years before giving them to Doris as she had more of a need for some fancy dishes. They traveled with Doris and her family to Denver; Perth, Australia; Manila, Philippines; Tucson; The Hague, Netherlands; Denver; and to Brentwood, California. After Doris passed away in 2002, Sarah inherited the dishes. They sat in Bud’s house until the summer of 2005, when Sarah and her family traveled to California for our son Joel’s marriage to Jessica. They packed the dishes into their SUV and trekked them across two states back to Tucson.

    “The Crystal Dinner” has a double meaning: crystal dishes and our mother, Crystal. Isn’t this a great story??

    Love your blog! More, please…

  2. Savvy Sara

    Hi Aunt Lisa –

    Thank you for the back story on the dishes. I knew some of it but not all those details. The dinner was a total blast and would have been even better if you would have been there.

  3. Laurel Jacobs

    It was a great meal! Especially I remember the sorbet. So glad we were included.