DINNER ‘CHEZ KAISER’ – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Sometimes things happen that everyone involved remembers fondly. These events become part of a family’s oral history – one of the stories retold and enjoyed. Our family has a very special ‘Remember when …” story. It’s special because it involves two families and three generations.

In August of 1996, our close friends, the Millers, were visiting us in Connecticut, from England, with their two children. The parents were Christine and Jay and the kids were Sam, age 17 and Katie, age 15. My husband at the time was Larry Kaiser and our kids were David, age 16 and Sarah, age 11. So now you know all the main characters in this tale.

Christine, Jay and I decided to take a day trip to a preserved Quaker village in Massachusetts. That left Larry alone with the kids all day, at home. Larry decided that they all needed a project to work on. So he decided that they would surprise the traveling parents with a fancy dinner, “Chez Kaiser” when they returned home.

Larry was a fun, energetic guy so he made this into a big adventure for the kids. They all went crazy in the local gourmet supermarket, Stew Leonard’s. They bought tons and tons of food! They planned five courses, from corn on the cob to seafood to two choices of beef, then cheese and fruit and finally, dessert. They bought much of the food ready-made, but they still had to do some cooking and lots of prep work. This also required serious organizing in order to pull this off well.

They set a beautiful table with the good china. They plated everything with style and flair. Larry paired wines with each course. Katie knew some French, so she printed out a full menu, in French!

Menu plus Sarah and Katie on right and Larry on bottom left, Christine, Larry’s Dad and me, all at dinner party

Since they were going to all this trouble already, they decided to invite my kids’ grandparents too, who lived nearby. So my mother was invited and so was Larry’s father and step-mother. Now it was dinner for eleven!

When Christine, Jay and I arrived home, we were ceremoniously ushered into the fully set up dining room. We were overwhelmed. It was also a great surprise to see the grandparents there. And the kids were so excited!

Larry and the kids did all the serving, with great bravado. They cleared the table after each course and brought out and served the following course throughout the meal. No grown-up, other than Larry, was allowed to help. The kids even poured the wine for us! It was a classy event all around.

Larry and Katie serving

It was an epic evening. Everyone had a wonderful time. The enthusiasm and pride that the kids exuded made everything more delicious and more special. This was one of Larry’s stellar moments as a parent.

We all remember it as a joyful time of bonding, between families and between generations. It is a cherished memory for all of us.

Dinner table – My mom, Sam and Christine on left, Larry’s Dad, then Me, Sarah and Larry’s step-mom on right.

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