When it comes to the end of the year I’m just so excited to say good riddance to the current year and a big waving arms hello to a bright and shiny new year. So much so I’ll zip right on passed the reflection and jump immediately into how to make the next year the best one yet. With buzzy delight I make plans for what I hope to accomplish, think on huge bowls of salad, set lofty business goals, plan epic family adventures and figure out what YouTube exercise video I will sweat to for about a week or two.
This year, I think we might all agree, is one in which I am most eager to say a hearty GOODBYE!! But there is something missed when I jump right into planning and dream making and forget all about the check off goals, memories, delicious things, and even the humdrum of the everyday from the year past. This is the time of year in our family when the conversations around the dinner table and in the brief quiet moments in between activities are marked with some of our favorite days from the year.
Just moments ago I was sitting down with blank paper in hand getting ready to map out 2017 but before that I want to, with you by my side, look at 2016 and say thank you. Thank you for the memories, the lessons you taught us and the simple joys that marked our days. And to you all, thank you, seriously. From the very depths of my heart I say thank you – for being here, for adding to the conversation, for reading the words and adding your own, for inviting my food into your kitchen and for enabling me to do what I love. 2017 is going to be a great one but we’ll get there soon enough.
Travel. I think this is what I am perhaps the most grateful to this year for. It’s sort of ridiculous to look back over twelve short months and think on all the places I’ve been.
In March I made my first ever trip to Paris and as one does, I fell completely in love with the city. The more time I spend away from that stunning place the more I realize how much I indeed love it.
In May I returned to Italy (the birthplace of my love of food) for the first time since I lived there in college. Once again I found God in my Carbonara.
In June/July we took the kids on a three-week European adventure. The effects of the trip continue to overwhelm and delight me. I love that my children are already building on their own travel memories and have real tastes, sights, smells, and sounds to recall. I fulfilled a lifelong dream of wandering through Monet’s Garden and bought art supplies from the same shop that has been supplying artists for generations. We discovered how much we all love ham and butter on baguettes and experience the perfect rain escape – Chocolat Chaud at Les Deux Magots. With great fervor I had planned on sharing more of that trip and if you are okay with it I’d still like to do so even though we’ve now been home for quite awhile.
There was also New York, LA, Sonoma, North Carolina, and most recently Washington D.C. There I, oh you know, just decorated Bo and Sunny sugar cookies with the White House Pastry Chef, Susan Morrison (!!!) Molly, Joy, and I quickly became what I’ll consider experts on piping the perfect red collar out of royal icing. After our time in the kitchen we gawked at the stunning holiday decor that adorned every room and kept our eyes peeled for the possibility of a Michelle sighting.
Home. This year we celebrated a year in our new home. Another year of beach picnics, ignoring the lavish garden plans I made but enjoying the raspberries and what few blueberries we found on our bush, and inviting people to our table. We also added a little pup, Lily, to the family. She’s a sweet rescue dog that is currently enrolled in puppy kindergarten which, we’re hoping that perhaps this training will save our socks. Fingers crossed.
Birthdays make me smile real big.
We started collaborating with talented friends. Our first was a ceramic project with Natalia from Plus Plus Design Lab. She made some stunning salt cellars to hold our new salts.
This summer I catered three dinners for my friend, Erin’s incredible flower workshops. Her site, Floret Flowers is an incredible resource for anyone who appreciates flowers.
Food. We enjoyed some great food this year didn’t we? Here are a few of my favorites:
We don’t have to go back far to find this favorite. My friend recently made this Chanterelle Fondue for a small dinner party and I was reminded of how much I love this simple recipe. Particularly this time of year.
Blackberries. Chocolate. Caramel. Salt. Done.
This year you met Classy Ashley and her love for Frito Pie.
We made roses out of rhubarb.
Thanks again for being here. Now, as I start filling that blank page with thoughts on the new year I would love to hear what you’d like to see around here. One of my goals for the new year is to make this place a better resource so that we can all find joy in the kitchen and come to the table more often. I would love to help make that happen for all of us.