Friday, June 13, 2014

Vintage Photo Friday - The Gourmettes, 1984

I know I keep saying this, but for some reason (probably because I'm old), I don't think of 1984 as vintage.  Yes, it was 30 years ago.  Really?
During the early and mid-1980's I was working at 20th Century Fox.  Not much has changed, I'm still doing the same job, just at a different company.  I had a few friends that were interested in cooking.  It was the dawn of noted gourmet restaurants and celebrity chefs in Los Angeles. After the big organic food movement of the 1970s initiated by Alice Waters in Northern California, our eyes were opened to the possibilities of healthy, but gourmet eating.  We were all reading cookbooks that professed to be the new way to eat and entertain.  Books like Sheila Lukins' Silver Palate Gourmet, Renny Darling's cookbook series and Marleen Sorosky's Jewish cuisine cookbooks.  We dissected recipes, interpreted them to our tastes and used our friends as guinea pigs.  

1984, Marina del Rey. International Dinner celebrating the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  The Gourmettes:  Back Row, L-R: Candy, Nancy, Michele, Leah.  Front Row:  Hostess Chefette, Ellen

We started a gourmet cooking group that we called "The Gourmettes."  It consisted of my co-worker, Candy, long-time school friend, Leah and her partner Nancy and another long-time friend, Michele.  We had by-laws and rules for our gourmet dinner parties.  Each month one of us hosted a dinner with a certain food theme.  We had dinners highlighting the cuisines of Japan, Russia, Hawaii, China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, Greece, Germany, Italy, India and more.  The Hostess of the Month had to send invitations, prepare the meal, create a proper setting for that meal, provide the recipes for each dish prepared and of course clean-up after the meal.  It was the duty of each guest to act in a lady-like manner during the meal, wear the appropriate ensemble and then, send a thank-you note to the Hostess after the fact.  One outside guest of the Hostess could be invited to enjoy the meal along with the members each month.  This provided us with a way to show off our cooking skills to friends other than the Gourmettes.  My friend, Jacquie was often my guest at these soirees.

International Gourmettes Feast, 1984.  L-R: Michele, Leah, Nancy, Candy

In 1984, in honor of the Olympic Games being held in Los Angeles, I hosted an International Feast at my parents' home in Marina del Rey.  The Olympic runners were scheduled to run right by my parents' condo.  This was an added attraction and activity for the evening!
We continued in this manner until we ran out of countries and were exhausted by all of this work.  For another year or two, we met once a month and went OUT to dinner at one of the trendy new restaurants in town.  It was a fun group while it lasted.  I learned so much from the other Gourmettes and was thrilled to be part of this gourmet explosion in Los Angeles.  I am still in touch with all of the Gourmettes through the magic of Facebook!  Hey Girls!  What's cookin'?

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