Letter To The Parents | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Certain gestures are like fleeting moments to which we pay little attention, but the memory of them is sculpted forever in our mind.
I was enjoying a tasteful Christmas dinner when in a small moment I had a vision of a custom of my childhood, which repeated every year until I was 10 years old: the Christmas letter to the parents.
It was a letter all the pupils in elementary schools wrote for their parents in class with the aid of the teacher. Everyone wrote his/her thoughts, just one-page or a paragraph that expresses all the gratitude to the parents for raising us the best they could. Some letters were funny and comics and some others were very serious, they followed the kid’s character and personality. The teacher only corrected each letter and had no part in composing it, basically, we forced ourselves to find something good to write that made us look good with our parents.
In this letter addressed to both parents, we promised not to do the bad things we did during the year (often it was an empty promise, we forgot it as soon as the holidays passed), we promised to bring home good grades and keep the parents happy with good behavior. Mainly we praised them for all the good things they did for us, and we thanked them every five words.

Both parents knew about the letter but acted as if it was a surprise. Here, I recreated the table in the simplicity of the era: two plates, two glasses, and the necessary dinnerware, no Christmas decorations on the table, nothing spectacular, not even close to how we decorate holiday tables today. It was an essential table, real food and conversation took all our attention.


Letterina

The letter was hidden under the father’s set of plates. After the first course, generally, a pasta dish, one of the women in the family removed that plate and pushed the letter out to make it more visible. The father accidentally pretended to see the letter and with a surprised voice exclaimed: “It’s Christmas and the postman came!” Then, he checked whose signature was and invited the author of the letter to come closer to him to read the letter out loud. Followed applauses and compliments from the members of the family sitting at the dinner table. In richer families, the kid who wrote the letter received some sort of gift or money, in less rich families, the kid received lots of kisses and hugs.

I have not had this vision in my life before this past Christmas. The scene was so vivid, real and all the people in it, now gone from this world, appeared the same, immortalized to the time I was ten years old.
It was my film, nobody saw it, I had slid through time, it felt like I had stopped there for a long time, but it was a brief moment and I was happy. A voice in my house brought me back to reality: “Can I take your plate and are you ready for the second course?”
Has this ever happened to you? Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2018 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is a storyteller by nature. Stories are very important to her design career to convey ideas because making someone’s home or personal images is not only about building around shapes, lines, forms, and colors. It is about the story one can create around their spaces and how they want to appear to others. She is the author of four books, all available on
Amazon – http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w
The latest book just published is The Road To Top Of The World – https://tinyurl.com/y7tuyfh8

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Buffet À La Française | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information. http://myatozchallenge.com/?s=Valentina+Cirasola+
Now I have two months left to complete my challenge. The beat is on.

Just in time for the holidays to converse on the choice of buffet style dinner party or sitting down formal dinner. Both need a pleasing design, a menu planning and serving strategy.  As a designer, I can tell you that formal dining rooms are disappearing from homes. The dining space is now used to make a great room, which includes living and family room in an open space attached to the kitchen. The buffet serving style is more congenial to today’s living. Servants are not necessary, we only need good food and to spend quality time with our guests.

Buffet style food or self-serve style is an invention of less than a 100 years. Food was always consumed sitting down at a table with many servants around attending guests and always ready to fill the wine glass, take away empty plates, or light candles that had blown off. Service à la Française (French style) of the middle 1800’s in the Victorian era is the closest way to buffet style of today, food came out of the kitchen all together in an impressive, but often impractical display and placed on large pieces of furniture that now we call Buffet.

Often food arrived covered with silver domes, but due to the distant location of the kitchen in respect to the dining area, they arrived cold. Guests could admire the beautiful display of food on the table and helped themselves to dishes close by, but had to rely on servants to bring other food or wines and to change plates and cutlery. The table for service à la Française was beautifully made up, generally with a minimum of three-course meal in addition to desserts. Soup and various terrines were on one side of the table, meat and fish on the opposite side, many other specialties in the middle of the table and all sizes and shapes cutleries around the edges of the table. Almost just like we arrange a buffet today.

The host’s duty to carve meats at the buffet table with all that production of food was very challenging. Today, in a buffet style party we would have a cutting station for meats and fish separate from other food.

In the early 19th century Russian Ambassador Alexander Kurakin brought to France the Service à la Russe (service in the Russian style), which is the style of dining that involves courses being brought to the table sequentially up to dessert. Before serving desserts the table was cleared out even of breadcrumbs. After desserts, guests left the dining table and moved to the living room or sitting room to sip coffee, tea, liqueurs and smoking cigars.

Restaurants have adopted the service à la Russe style as well as people in their home for sitting down dinner parties in those few rare occasions when families get together on important holidays and get to enjoy the formal dining room. Various cultures in history have used some form of buffet as furniture to serve food from. Usually the bottom part stores tableware and linens and the top part is for displaying appetizers, bottles of wines, desserts, extra flatware and glassware.

Italians like simple lines buffets as in all their home décor. Food is always the main protagonist of our dinner parties and as long as there is food on display, the rest of the décor will disappear in its stylish silence. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PrintIt’s my hope that through my writing I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style and inspire you to live in beauty. I have loved my profession as an interior designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need. Check out my latest book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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