First Party of the Holidays

I decided to start the holiday celebration early. Part of it comes from the vitriol we’ve had to witness for the past ten months. I’ve felt a strong urge to be around people that share love. We don’t even share the same political beliefs but we love and respect each other.  I also wanted to enjoy a meal and not think about the party I went to before it or the one we’re going to tomorrow…knowing you’re seeing the same people and a similar menu. That’s not intended to sound humbug but I’ve come to a place where focused, quality time is a priority.

Last year our chosen family lost a member very dear to all of us.  She and I shared a common bond in many ways.  I’ve entertained this year but it’s been only out of necessity. I’ve tried to be hospitable and love our guests but if I told the truth…my heart was not in it.  The year mark has passed and I know I need to look forward and I certainly know Teresa would be pissed off I didn’t. Recently, I’ve felt the darkness pass a bit and thought a “covered dish dinner” was a great way to get back in the groove.  Yet, last evening as I tried to share my thoughts emotion overcame me.  I felt her presence when I put down linen napkins knowing she scolded me for refusing to use paper or even having a “to-go” plastic cup in the house.  I felt her when Sharon walked in with Dauphinoise Potatoes and whispered to me “they’re a little greasy”.  Well, Teresa’s were always “greasy” because she started with duck fat and finished with LurPak (Danish Butter). I also thought of her when salt was requested.  I always had a salt cellar in front of her place setting.  She had a collection of salt cellars with salts from all over the world.  I asked the family for her salt cellars but they chose to keep them.  We once did a meal where each dish was finished with a different kind of salt.  For thirteen years she was the salt that put the finishing touch on life for many of us.  For me, the dinner was a way to honor her and look forward to the well seasoned life ahead.

The event…
I grew up in a Freewill Baptist Church.  Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  I’ve always said, “Where two or three are gathered together bring a dish…and take up an offering”.  I’ve left the fundamentalist leanings of the church but not the joy of everyone “showing out” with their best dishes. The love shared among good friends is offering enough.

I sent an email to our South Main family inviting them to a covered dish dinner…as a guest said in her thank you note…a simple supper for 15.

For Starters…

Sharon did a luscious Zucchini soup; silky with a slight richness. Marcy did her mom’s Deviled Egg Salad and shared the story of how her mom fooled her dad. He didn’t like egg whites so she pushed the eggs through a sieve so he wouldn’t know he was eating the whole egg. It’s still hot outside so the farmers at the market are still bringing tomatoes and I’m still eating them.  I did a layered dip of ricotta, burrata, baby heirloom tomatoes and basil finished with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Teresa would’ve loved the salt I used. It was Hawaiian sea salt we received from a friend living in Hawaii.

To follow…

Brandt and I made two of our mom’s signature dishes.  If it was a big family gathering we always had “green salad”.  It’s actually lemon-lime congealed salad but she called it green salad…so did we.  Those that have followed the blog for a while know at Easter it was in a bunny mold.  Brandt did “Helen’s Pea Salad”.  A friend recently showed us a Byhalia Methodist Women’s cookbook and there it was.  The real recipe…no more guessing…and now you have it!


From the ocean…

Cynthia did a moist, delicious roast salmon…like Seattle delicious. If mom were still alive she would’ve done Chicken and Dressing.  However,  I did Oyster Dressing. The story is too long to tell but for 15 years we’ve been trying to replicate an oyster dressing that Carrie did but didn’t keep the recipe.  I tried again.  It’s an Edward Lee recipe published in Garden and Gun, February/March 2010 as Cornbread Oyster Dressing or on page 128 of his cookbook Smoke and Pickles as Country Ham and Oyster Dressing. It was really close and I’m looking forward to leftovers.

From the farm…

Terry did Grilled Bratwurst with cabbage and apples. Again, I’m looking forward to leftovers. For some reason brats and autumn seem to go hand in hand. Sharon brought the aforementioned Dauphinoise Potatoes. Greasy, no. Decadent, damn right!!! Jim and Linda brought Green Bean Casserole.  Again, a great family story.  I’ll just say it’s not your church supper green bean and mushroom soup variety.  So, so good!!!  Yancey described her dish as Organic Grass Fed Broccoli with Housemade Mustard Sauce.  The question was asked, “how is broccoli grass fed”.  If you have to ask…you really don’t need to try it…LMAO.  Actually, with all the richness of the other dishes a bite of green with the tang of mustard was lovely…just like our FABULOUS Yancey.

To finish…

Terry brought the blender and all the ingredients for Brandy Alexander’s. The Vitamix sounded like a jet engine but the drink was soooooooooo delicious.  I made Meyer Lemon Icebox Pie with lemons off our tree at the farm.  I also did a Chocolate Icebox Pie for those that didn’t care for lemon.  Yes, most people wanted “just a taste” of both.

The house…

I’m not a huge fan of orange…well, I’m not a fan of color in general.  My professional world is all about color and I’m really good with color. However, it’s really nice to come home to a place where the visual aesthetic is relatively quiet.  Green will always be a part of my aesthetic as I feel it’s the color that symbolizes life.  Green heirloom pumpkins and red bartlett pears were all the autumn I offered.  The living area got a bit of a makeover and received positive reviews.

The family…


According to the day after communications…the house was lovely and a good time was had by all.




4 Comments Add yours

  1. What a wonderful tribute to Ms. T. I am positive her salty spirit was there with you all. And I see a lot of faces from our adventures in Tuscany. With love from St. Croix…pk

  2. Susan Shofner says:

    Absolutely beautiful!!!! Love to all! xo

  3. Kirk Whiteside says:

    Love reading your blog! Sorry to have missed such a special gathering!

  4. Monica Edwards says:

    It’s all lovely and I know a good time was had… I wish I lived close enough to horn in once in awhile. Everyone needs a little fabulous in her life.

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