Being invited to lunch at Norma’s is a treat to say the least. Not only is she a wonderful cook in the category of Julia Child, her apartment is like eye candy.
Norma is a collector of sorts. A former antique dealer both in New York and in Europe so she has a keen eye for the good stuff. And good stuff she has. Her apartment is charming from an architecture stand point, as well, since the guy who created it for her also had an eye for design. The architectural appeal adds to the ambiance however it is all the interesting things she has that are so enthralling.
There are stacks and stacks of art books…the good kind. The kind that most of us can only afford one, maybe two. She has stacks which in some places serve as a place to set a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The long sofa that lines one wall is abundant with pillows offering a wonderful cozy feel to the tiny space. And tiny it is yet so big in feel. She also collects foo dogs and those hang out looking from every corner, table top and vantage point as if keeping an eye on things. Cozy chairs welcome conversation and to linger for a while.
When she serves lunch or dinner, it is with great style and attention to detail. There is a theme with all things complimenting and an elegant ease that goes with the process. Other times when I have been invited for dinner along with other guests, she has thoughtfully set a little bowl of nuts at each chair along with an ever so elegant cocktail napkin in perfectly pressed linen. Hors d’oeuvres are served equally as thoughtful with attention to individual enjoyment yet done so that all are shared equally. No fingers dip into a central bowl. No fingers handle the hors d’oeuvres that others may partake. All are set on individual little plates making it all so special and proper yet with casual elegance.
Another glance around one sees a collection of Stafforshire Dogs grouped together on a rustic cabinet in the small kitchen. Rather a juxtapositon for such elegance yet it works so wonderfully.
Norma is a woman of eccentric spirit sporting curly grey hair cropped close to her head. Rosy cheeks brighten her face and a quick smile shows the happy spirit. She is worldly and well traveled and has many stories to tell although never presses those on anyone. One would never know she has spent a lot of time in Paris even though it shows in her digs, she only mentions it if the subject of the conversation drifts the direction of Paris or Europe. The trait of a truly worldly person.
To spend just a little time in Norma’s home is like taking a trip. A trip to Paris for lunch. It is a treat to go to Norma’s for that reason although not that reason alone. Sometimes there are places that feed the soul and Norma’s is one of those. The lunch is an additional treat.
If only we all could enjoy being as eccentric as Norma and with such confidence, such abandon, I think perhaps we as a lot would be a happier group. Perhaps more confident in who we are and content with our place in time. It is not about the trappings. Anyone can have things, it is about the ambiance created and that can be with a few things or many if there is soul. It is the soul that is shown that gives a place its ambiance and it takes confidence to show that soul. Norma has that and it shows, feels.
So a visit to Norma’s is like none other and an absolute treat to travel for just a little while if only in spirit. Travel feeds the soul.