|Chez Jim Haynes: In Paris, a great Sunday feast with instant friends|
|by Doug Oster
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sunday, November 20, 2011
PARIS -- For more than 30 years, Jim Haynes has hosted a Sunday dinner
at his home here for whomever wants to come. It's open to the first 50
or 60 people who sign up -- and more than twice that many in nice weather,
when guests can spill out into the garden.
A group of visitors to Jim Haynes' Sunday dinner enjoy. (Photo Doug Oster/Post Gazette)
With experience as a professor at the University of Paris for three
decades, Mr. Haynes, 78, can remember everyone's name in the room. At
the dinner he shouts out your name when he catches your eye. It's kind
of a party game and he laughs loudly each time.
|Every week he recruits volunteers to cook. On
this Sunday it's his old friend Mary Bartlett. She spends three months in
Portland, Ore., and three months in Paris with her husband.
On the menu this night was an orange, avocado and red onion salad, Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous, green salad and corn bread and a pineapple sundae for dessert.
Mrs. Bartlett had worked in catering, but missed the thrill of cooking for a crowd. She cooks once a month when in town and then also comes to enjoy other cooks.
"It's amazing how many people will volunteer who have no idea what they are doing, but it always works out."
She is one of the authors (along with Ms. Monnet) of "Throw a Great Party: Inspired by Evenings in Paris with Jim Haynes."
The book is filled with recipes and ideas culled from years of Sunday dinners. "It's just fun," she says.
Lucy Voorhees of Washington, D.C., is at the party with college friend Molly Johnsen of South Kingstown, R.I. Ms. Voorhees used to live next to Mrs. Bartlett and that's how she discovered the dinner.
Among the guests is Shasta Ellen Bogen, 23, a classical musician from Ottawa, Canada. She was in Paris for a month to take viola lessons but was lonely. She spent the night laughing, eating, drinking and talking. For her, it was just what the doctor ordered.
"The food was great and I'm really impressed with the variety of the crowd. I was just looking for company," she said.
Mr. Haynes' dinner inspired Maureen and Jack Dumbaugh of Mt. Lebanon to host a monthly dinner at their home. Their daughter attended the Paris dinner and raved about it to her mother. As a Delta flight attendant, Mrs. Dumbaugh spends lots of time in Paris. She met Mr. Haynes and eventually experienced one of his dinners.
She loved it and began hosting here in 2009. "It's a place for people to come, not feel any pressure. I think I've made a comfortable place for people to gather and connect." One thing that's different about her dinner is that the Steelers game is always on during the season.
For more information about Jim Haynes' Sunday dinners in Paris, visit www.jim-haynes.com. Guests can reserve far in advance, but must reconfirm by 4 p.m. on the day of the scheduled dinner. If they don't, they're not expected.
Information for Maureen Dumbaugh's Sunday dinners in Pittsburgh can be
found at sundaynightdinnerpgh.com.
Doug Oster: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-779-5861
©Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2011
2011, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette : Chez Jim Haynes: In Paris, a great Sunday feast with instant friends