My neighborhood has an adorable holiday tradition of "The Parents Party"--to distinguish it from the myriad of other awesome neighborhood parties (where we can drink and eat to excess and just walk home), such as "The Kids Party," where Santa makes an appearance and delivers presents to kids of a certain age.
One year that party was at my house, and Santa nearly fell down my stairs, and I never hosted that one again. Now that I've grown up and out of the Kids Party, I have been delighted to have had the Parents Party chez moi for three years in a row now. Last night was number 3.
Every year the dynamic is different: one year we were singing Journey and the Rolling Stones; next year we had jazz pianist Rich Harney and a drunken group selfie on my front porch; this past year (last night) we had a little bit of everything:, including two jazz musicians: vocals and piano--both women--and gracious underwriting of the live music element from my posse of music guys in the hood.
We started around 7pm for this annual potluckof food and wine, with folks wandering in around 7:30 and onward, and did not wind down really until midnight. I started to email my gratitude to our awesome group this morning, but decided why not turn it into a blog post. So here goes, along with a photo essay of some really phenomenal food:
Dear "RidgeleaMoms" (term of art given the composition of the group):
It was a delight to groggily wander downstairs – just now at 11 am – to find a clean house. I was particularly in awe of – seriously – the pristine nature of my floors. Not a single crumb. Tara really went to town with the sweeping. I learned a lot from her. Like I need an inside broom and an outside broom. And never shall one be used in place of the other. Never.
Thank you Amy for diving into my "drawer of shame" in the kitchen (the junk drawer) and helping me feel not so awful by announcing you found what you needed right away.
Given the deficit of energy and time I had because of work stuff this past week, I owe a big thank you to all of you and especially Mollie for assisting with the forward motion of the party getting planned and started last night. With her ample food donations, outsourcing the kitchen clean-up and other tasks – Mollie really helped make the fiesta happen. EVERYONE’s food was out of this world – in quantity and quality. And Gina’s flowers were totally over the top. Gorgeous!
Our help for the evening: Kendall takes coats, wine. Jazz vocalist Karen Tennison and pianist Peggy Stern starting out with jazzy rendition of "Let It Snow."
Thank you Grant – for helping to underwrite the music and providing the music as well. I look forward to our Godspell and Lionel Richie musical montage one year. (Remind me to stop drinking Mollie's cranberry ginger "Holiday Margaritas" earlier in the evening though if we do get that organized.)
And to Jesse as another music underwriter – thank you for counseling me on (1) music concert ideas for future house concerts and (2) my party anxiety issues and telling me to chill and take it down a few notches on my concern for making sure everything was going ok. It's just a neighborhood party after all.
Thank you Dan for (1) getting together for me at the last minute the slide show of our neighborhood "camping" trip to Port A – we’ll show those another time in better conditions (we thought about a screen outside with a loop of the slides); and (2) figuring out that despite your intense efforts my Dell laptop does not like to be connected to my TV. And of course the smoked salmon you made for the party, despite a very late night out the night before....much appreciated.
Soul food I got from new business owner and entrepreneur Leslie - seriously; this is ridiculously awesome macaroni and cheese. And her meatloaf with "brown gravy" was really a rich sauce with green bell peppers, onions, and sliced mushrooms. I overheard someone say this was the best meatloaf they had ever had. I agree. Thank you Foundation Communities for featuring Leslie and helping get the word out about her awesome food.
Thank you Mollie for over-doing with your generosity. This "salad" may become a mainstay in my party planning. So lovely with those parmesan shavings and all the overflowing abundance on that white serving piece.
It was good to see new faces – but with so much going on, I am sure I will not remember your names. Please don’t take it personally: I’m pushing 50 you know.
Funny how at one point in the week, it looked like we had pretty much no desserts that would be arriving for the potluck. I don't know why I worry about this. Ridgelea folks you kicked it up several notches with some bad ass desserts. (I'm talking to you in particular, Stephanie, and this Pavlova with raspberry coulis and fresh whipped cream)
Trying to fit that lemon meringue show-stopper pie in the fridge was quite a challenge. Thank you, Sally and Tim, for bringing that by yesterday afternoon, even if you could not make the party. We missed you!
For those of you who forgot your monies for the clean-up donation, feel free to drop that off at my house – in the black mailbox by my front door - when you get a minute. We fell short of our projections, so our neighborhood holiday party accountant (Mollie) told me.
Leftover: A lovely silver cake slicer, with ornate handle, and a straight edge for cutting and wider rest of the thingy for serving.
But seriously, thank you everyone for everything, including just enjoying yourself in my home. I love sharing it with you - even if you love to hang out in that narrow passageway near the icemaker.
Drink responsibly: with friends, at home.
And support local musicians. Have live music at your next party.