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JoanN | Feb 11, 200810:01 AM

I’m hosting a lunch for my Mom’s 90th birthday and have invited two of her friends. My brother, who lives in Spain, will be coming in for the occasion. As you can imagine, there are a number of different issues to deal with when preparing lunch for 90-year-olds, all of whom—by the way—love good food and are quite knowledgeable about it. Here are the dietary restrictions: Mom can only eat soft food; no nuts, nothing crispy, no whole bits. One guest is Kosher, and although he’ll eat at my non-Kosher apartment, I can’t serve him ham, bacon, shrimp, etc. And the third guest can’t eat anything too spicy.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking. Starting with the main course and working around it, I want to make the Salmon in Pastry with Currants and Ginger from “Roast Chicken and Other Stories” that MMRuth posted about here:


It looks elegant and, except perhaps for the currants, is well within the dietary parameters. I’ll probably make a hollandaise lightened with whipped cream, as he suggests, to accompany it, and would like a soft or pureed vegetable that would work both with the salmon and the hollandaise. Perhaps braised endives or scallions?

For a first course, my brother has asked for a repeat of the Kabocha Squash and Fennel Soup with Créme Fraîche and Candied Pumpkin Seeds from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques” (would have to leave out the pumpkin seeds for Mom) that I made for Thanksgiving. But I’m afraid it’s too late in the season for Kabocha squash, although I could do it with butternut. I was thinking instead of perhaps a deconstructed (or not) ravioli, maybe something like the Beef Cheek Ravioli from the Babbo cookbook.

Totally lost on dessert. I have a great do-ahead flan, which could win on all counts except that it doesn’t really go with the meal as it’s planned so far. The freezer is packed and won’t be emptied out sufficiently for anything frozen (couldn’t fit my ice cream maker thingie in there nohow). Want to avoid pastry since that will be part of the main course. And don’t want anything so rich that this party will end up in the emergency room.

And I’ll need a pre-lunch nosh. I’ve given that hardly any thought at all, except to eliminate anything with toast or crackers. Maybe stuffed mushrooms?

Is this all sounding like way too much for this crowd?

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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