Often, it’s the little details that count. Here at Cerines, it’s not about grand gestures or expensive materials that take precedence. Sometimes, just taking the simple things and giving them a bit of a lux makes all the difference. It’s kind of like wearing a hat, nowadays. It may not be necessary, but it’s fun and adds a layer to your personal style. So why not food? Personalizing your table and menu can be carried to things right on the plate: a sprig of rosemary or sage with grilled meat; a sprinkling of coarsely-chopped parsley atop a platter of pasta before it’s served; a piece of parchment paper underneath baked goods. These things add a tactile layer to food: something not only nice to look at but to pick up and touch.
Getting ready for the Cerines Supper Club, we knew we had to serve lemon with the second course. Instead of just passing lemon wedges, we thought it would be a great idea to wrap the lemon for each individual guest, tied up with some waxed baking twine. Sounds great, but what home cook has time to fuss with lemons when the clock is ticking and guests are coming?
Surprisingly, wrapping up a dozen lemon wedges took no more than five minutes from start to finish. If you’ve got an extra pair of hands in the kitchen (partner, kids), it comes together even quicker. Best thing of all, it is no more difficult than tying a shoe. Actually, this is one of those things to give eager guests something to do while you are involved in the last-minute preparations before sitting down. Have everything laid out and your guests can figure it out themselves, it’s so easy. We like to make our guests work a little for their board.
Cost? Practically nothing, as cheesecloth and twine are not only affordable, they’re dirt cheap. We keep both stocked in The Craft Room: the cheese cloth is used for roasting turkey or for pressing vegetables; baker’s twine for wrapping gifts and packages—so it’s not as if you’ll be purchasing them for a one-time-only use. Vary the size of the cheesecloth squares and you’ll create a luxury touch for your table, whenever you’re serving something savory that requires a squeeze of lemon.
•cheesecloth•fabric scissors (the good kind or the sharpest ones you have that kids don’t use)
•bakers twine cut in lengths
1. Cut cloth into squares. (Optional: Choose desired size of square and multiply length and width by the number of squares you’ll need to find the area. Cut the cheesecloth to desired size. Fold the entire piece into one square and cut along creases. Don’t worry about straight edges; this is part of the charm.)
2. Cut rinsed, whole lemons into halves.
3. Cut twine.
4. On a clean, flat surface (obviously, the best place is the kitchen counter top) , place a square of cheese cloth on the surface.
5. Place a lemon half, cut-side down, on top of square.
6. Draw up the four corners around lemon and tie baker’s twine around top.
7. Place the lemon halves on a platter and refrigerate until ready to use.