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Out to Lunch

December 9, 2012

What to wear, I thought to myself…I’d never been to the ‘club’ before. What does one wear to a membership-by-invitation-only club? An exclusive club that never used to allow women inside. Hmmm…I’d have to delve into my closet and come up with something. Would I have to wear a dress? Or would slacks be acceptable? The Kitchee Gammi Club of Duluth. Now open to both sexes. Times have changed.

So, Roxy, my friend with technicolor hair, invited our craft group, the Serotonin Sisters,’ to lunch at the ‘club’ to celebrate her birthday. None of us are members, but Roxy’s mother has a friend who is, and Eileen agreed to host our luncheon.

Sooo…I ventured into my closet and emerged with my black Coldwater Creek cardigan in hand. It was a start…but what to pair it with? My black slacks would be okay, and I would keep secret the fact that I’d bought them at the local Goodwill. A black turtleneck from WalMart worked, too. Nothing like mixing it up! And now to accessorize. A pop of color was needed to complete the ensemble. And my variegated blue, black and brown consignment shop scarf would do the trick…the one with the bobbles on the ends. I was ready.

Upon our arrival, a kind matronly woman met us at the door, patiently showed us the cloakroom, then led us up the grand staircase to our private dining room. Ooh la la, what a lovely room it was, with built in china cabinets at one end and oak framed art at the other. The upper cabinets were fronted with clear glass and lit from within; displaying lovely English Bone China.

The six of us took our places at the antique oak table, joining Eileen, Roxy’s mother and her daughter. We admired the silver candlesticks, linen table cloth and napkins folded into fans, and placed just so at each setting. Our view of Lake Superior through the leaded glass windows was beautiful, despite the dismal gray sky.

There we sat, the nine of us, in our very own dining room at the Club. The richness of the solid oak quietly understated its exclusivity. And I wasn’t the only one who marveled at our surroundings.

Our waitress, the same woman who’d met us at the door, was dressed in a crisp white blouse and black slacks, took our orders and left us to our own devices. A bit later, she entered, carrying china plates, quietly circling behind us and serving us our dinner.

Now, the Foodies on television say we eat with our eyes first. True, but while it’s not nearly as fulfilling as the real thing, it sure set the stage for what was to come; roasted fall vegetables and wild rice pilaf occupied the left side of my plate garnished with a small sautéed carrot, cut lengthwise and artistically placed atop the rice. It provided a splash of color needed for visual ‘balance’.  The blackened prime rib sat on the right, topped with a generous portion of sautéed mushrooms and melted cheddar cheese.

I was served first, and my mouth watered in anticipation. There were seven more to be served before I could taste this delectable concoction. The tantalizing aroma was almost more that I could bear.

I glanced to my right…and Marge was eyeing her identical entrée. We glanced at each other…’Wow,’ we whispered, ’this is going to be good!’ As it turned out, by the time we started, our food had cooled to the perfect temperature.

And, with a quick anticipatory glance at Marge, I began. First, I tried the veggies; then the rice, both of which were delicious. And finally, drum roll please, the blackened prime rib. With the first bite, time stopped…and the angels sang. At least in my mouth.

This was special…perhaps it’s what the Japanese refer to as umami, the fifth taste…savory. Difficult to describe, but absolutely wonderful. Heaven on a plate.  And it was all mine.

I was content to simply hold the meat in my mouth for a time, just for the experience, then slowly, ever so slowly, I began to chew, allowing the flavor and texture to permeate every inch of my being. I surrendered myself to this steak. And for the moment, that was all that mattered.

Soon, or perhaps not, I felt a hand on my arm. ‘Kate, Kate‘ said a voice from afar, ‘how‘s your lunch?’

‘Oh, my,’ I replied reverently, ‘this is delicious.’

‘I’ve never had anything like this…’ said Marge.

And with that, I rejoined the party, participating in polite dinner conversation, inquiring about other entrees, and catching up with friends.

Our hostess, Eileen, told us that she celebrated her eightieth birthday by jumping out of a plane; skydiving. At eighty. She jumped in tandem, with a young man as her guide. A nice looking, well-built young man, she added. One who cradled her in his lap as they landed so as to protect from jarring her old bones.

Eileen informed us that she was instructed to smile as she jumped from the plane…smiling was supposed to counteract the effect of the wind on her face. Personally, I wondered that if I were to attempt skydiving, would I be able to smile at all, given the fact that I was about to jump out of an airplane from a height sure to kill me if the slightest detail went awry. Now, I’d like to think that my activity of choice in that situation would be prayer…fervent prayer as I leaped into thin air from thousands, or at least hundreds, of feet above the earth. I don’t think smiling would even be on my radar. I think I’d be too busy praying…or maybe chastising myself for being dumb enough to go up in a plane just to jump out of it when it got high enough.

As we dined, our coffee cups and water glasses were discreetly refilled, our dinner plates removed and cake was served. Gifts were opened. And time passed. More than two hours slipped by. Soon we would have to leave…most of the group would continue the outing by going shopping. As for me, I would head south, to my cousin’s home for the weekend. I’d miss out on the shopping, but I’d been at the main event: lunch at the Club.

One Comment
  1. It was a grand adventure, wasn’t it? As nice as the setting was and as good as the food was, it truly was the company that made it so special to me. My mom, my daughter, and my bestest friends. The best gift of all!

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