The woman behind the legendary J. Pocker Custom Framing, Robyn Pocker, is also the ultimate hostess. Her Chanukah gatherings are as well known as are her beautiful year round tablescapes. This year Robyn is hosting four for a small dinner to celebrate the holiday and the start of a festive season. Her tips are the fail safe kind that come from years of practice. Enjoy!
Robyn's colorful table with family silver.
Tell me about the occasion and meal you made.
Its a Chanukah family dinner that is loads of fun for all ages. We traditionally eat foods fried in oil for Chanukah. We are having brisket, home made applesauce, and most important potato latkes, and lots of them. For dessert we have jelly doughnuts and Chanukah themed cookies.
Robyn Pocker standing in front of a framed map of Paris.
What influences your menu choices when you entertain?
Most of my entertaining is with friends and family on holidays or the Sabbath.
The foods are traditional, that said I am always looking for for a new spice or healthy grain for a new twist. The sabbath does not allow for any actual cooking so it is all done before hand. There is no last minute rush which is much simpler.
Who or what has most inspired your entertaining style?
My beautiful mother. She set a beautiful table and always told me when company was coming, nothing is too much trouble. Napkins had to be linen and the table a stage for your party. Now that she is gone, I read and look at myriads of online sources for ideas. I also inherited all of my mothers table top and I use absolutely everything.
Ventiain glasses that Robyn fell for when she was in Venice and a Jonathan Adler dradels.
Has anyone been a strong influence in teaching you the l'art de recevoir?
We entertain guests almost every week at our Sabbath table. There is a formula that I use for that meal that makes all our guests feel included and comfortable.
I was brought up in a generation where good manners mattered. Getting up to greet guests, and giving the best seat to anyone who was older and serving honored guests first were important. Thinking about your guest list and planning who is seated next to whom. Not to sound too old fashioned but a certain protocol to your entertaining style makes the meal run smoothly.
Do you have a favorite china or tabletop item that you collect?
My eyes are always looking for pretty table top pieces to add to my collection. Every visit to another city becomes a search for new napkins. They are easy to pack and you can buy loads and not add any weight. Now, I'm on the search for dessert forks to go with my grandmothers Queen Ann sterling. I would not say I collect drinking glasses but just opening up my cabinet, it seems that I do.