Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Traditions Renewed

Wine.  Food.  Friends.  All the things you need for a great dinner party.  Sure, everyone could use a little entertainment but that’s usually what the wine is for… no?

I have long been a fan of cooking my heart out for the ones I love and revel in finding the perfect wine to compliment the menu I’ve prepared.  So it shouldn’t surprise my husband that I am as giddy as a kid on Christmas morn when the new Food & Wine issue arrives in the mail.  Those delicate little magazine pages are full of inspiration that is far from flimsy and though some recipes may not pique my interest, they are straight-forward and simple to pull out of any well-stocked pantry.  And delicious too! 

So it is with great excitement that, as I prepare to move into a new home, my mind is already a-whirl with the ideas of all the fantastic dinner parties to be had.  And it struck me that we so often underestimate the value of sharing a meal with the ones we love.  A resurrection of the tradition of gathering to chat over a cocktail, reconnecting with a warm meal, and relaxing with a glass of wine is in order.

Everyone’s lives are busy; filled with long work days, slow meetings, bad traffic, soccer practices, ballet lessons, piano class…. you name it, we’ve shoved it into our schedule.  So the little morsels of time we steal away from meals are spent in a drive-thru, arguing with the tardy pizza-delivery boy, or whipping to the grocery store for some prepped and ready food that is bound to be dull.  I, too, am guilty of being too busy to care what I’m putting in my mouth, but I am, more and more, realizing the beauty of winding down with a glass of wine, surrounded by friends.  Of course, it can’t be done every night; it would soon turn into a chore if that were your goal.  But how much more effort would it take to make a few extra servings of your favorite meal and invite your friends over?  Besides, everyone has to eat.

There are a great number of terrific resources for you to explore when planning your next dinner party.  Of course, I’m biased and think Food & Wine is a great place to find recipes and wine pairings; full menus for your next soiree.  A site that allows you to browse by menu, dietary considerations, prep method, seasons, even by main ingredient for those days when you’ve had a rutabaga lingering in your crisper or have been dying to try your hand at duck.  Check out: http://www.epicurious.com/ for these fantastic ideas.  

Epicurious App
As an aside since I believe apps are for a whole different blog post; epicurious.com has a terrific iPhone app which makes stopping by the grocery store convenient and inspiring all at the same time!

Not to mention, the other great apps that have revolutionized my life: Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver.  Now if only Gordon Ramsey would jump on the bandwagon!

But back to the real challenge....
If your life needs a little oomph, I challenge you to seek out a recipe, invite your friends over, and uncork a bottle of wine; new or tried and true. 

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