Your first course?
Brie. Very ripe.
Pecans. Tablespoon of brown sugar, dash of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of butter.
And perhaps a light, sparkling rose? Mumm from California?
How to serve all this?
A few days before the 14th, buy your brie and one bosc pear (the gorgeous ochre colored one) and let them ripen. You know grocers: they put the fruit out long before it is ripe. And the brie should come to the party softig, too.
Then, on the day, remove your brie from the refrigerator about an hour before show time. Put it on a pretty plate. Decorate with your crackers.
Then in a Pam-coated baking dish, cut your pear in half, remove seeds and pit.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a Pyrex dish, put butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and maple syrup if you like, and melt it all.
Pour over the pear, ,which is face up, and bake for approx. 15-20 minutes.
Kitchen smells wonderful. You look brilliant.
First course, DONE.