A lunch was in order. They had heard about him. But not seen him. And I had just married him.
So we had a lunch under the plane tree in Constantia, and they came to look at Vince.
A sensible way to start. Lubrication. KC Sauvignon blanc.
My mom's amazing gazpacho. The ice cubes about to be added to each bowl: vodka and tomato juice. My mother doesn't mess around.
My cousin-in-law Dr Clark, standing on the right, saying something silly to me. I think he was either demanding a speech or suggesting I sing the Marsellaise.
Above, Roger Verge's olive tart from his out-of-print Entertaining in French Style. One of the nicest books, ever.
Guy's hitherto unsuspected talent is showcased in this post: plating. He was superb. Quick, thorough, economical, unrattled. Guy and Jay live next door.
...the results. A summer plate. Greek potato salad (why Greek? the feta and kalamata olives); three-bean salad; herbed tomatoes (a nod to Cafe Fiorello); ginger ale pig, and roast chickens with herbed ricotta stuffing.
And on to dessert. Lemon tart for the Frenchie. The Roux brothers' version from their wonderful Patisserie. Only 9 eggs. My Brooklyn oven refuses to make this: too hot.
I also made the dark and moussy Gateau Victoire au Chocolat. Another old friend, from House and Garden's collection published in 1980-voertsek. Alice Wooledge Salmon was their food editor and it is a fantastic book from whose almost-licked pages many Viljoen favourites have sprung...
Dr Clark even made his own doggy bag.
With dessert came a bottle of 1989 Vin de Constance. Which was the source of some stress for the Frenchman, who was asked to open it: the old cork broke. Not knowing my father very well, he thought this might mean the marriage was off.
The wine itself gave rise to some short tempers. Not right! cried 80% of the lunchers, led by my mom. It is right, I roared back, with Jay's support. It tasted wonderful. Another bottle, not as old, was opened, and I had to concede that it was very different. Still, crumbled cork and all (Vince wondering whywhywhy me, as it broke apart in his hands), I say the old one, as dark as cognac once decanted, was pretty good. And surely was more like what Jane Austen and Napoleon would have known, once it had roughed it in ships to their shores?
I think Vincent survived, and with much grace.