My husband and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary recently with an al fresco bash that involved dancing to “Proud Mary” and “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch”; mini skirts, bell bottoms and headbands; sunset cocktails with Fanny Bay and Sol Azul oysters; and dinner -- “A Taste of 1969.”
The iceberg wedge salad of that era got a chic make-over from chef Barry Layne and his Coast Catering team who turned it into a luscious still-life with Maytag blue cheese dressing, baby heirloom tomatoes, caramelized pecans and apple-smoked bacon.
Forty years ago Julia had all of us enthusiastic novices slaving away on her version which featured a beef filet, time-consuming mushroom duxelle and labor-intensive patè brioche. Layne updated the concept with meltingly tender short ribs, thin layers of jus-soaked potatoes, St. André cheese and semi-dried tomatoes, all wrapped in crackly puff pastry. He normally serves the luscious package with root vegetables (pictured here) but I opted for green beans and a tiny wedge of potato-gruyere gratin instead.
When I think of dessert in the 60s and 70s I can actually hear Julia squealing about her Mousse au Chocolat. So that was a slam-dunk choice. But since I had my mother’s lemon meringue pie as “birthday cake” every year ‘til I got married, that classic had to be part of the party too. Layne prepared both, updating the presentation in stylish martini glasses with poufy clouds of bronzed meringue on top.
If you’re considering a milestone celebration of your own, don’t forget the other classic dishes of those decades: Onion soup dip, fondue, and chicken a la King reigned in the ‘60s; quiche, carrot cake and, would you believe, Hamburger Helper defined the ‘70s.
Forty years from now people will be chuckling and serving up quaint Red Velvet cupcakes, arugula salad, and coconut mango foam.