As promised last week, I’m going to do a reflection on each of this blog’s themes since that’s an easy entry into reflecting on what’s important going into the new year. In alphabetical order, we then begin with EAT – the category in which I should have more links and don’t because I so rarely document food even though it’s such a central part of our social life. 2011 has actually been a very memorable food year for a number of reasons:
1) The rotating dinner party plan: We have been getting together with our friends Jess, Sam, Caelie, Stephe and Jaclyn almost every month for the past year where we rotate houses for after-work dinners. Although it seems to be faltering a bit at the moment, I’m committed to doing this again in 2012 either with the same group or a new group – or some combination – because it’s been such a great way to get to know some friends better and because we all have a love of cooking and eating which is much better when shared with others (right?). Seven or eight seems to be the right number for such a venture – meaning that no household should have to cook more than three dinners in a year and giving plenty of time for food ideas to percolate between hosting.
2) Dinner in bed: There is no schedule or plan to this, but about once every two months Brian and I fix dinner and go to bed as soon as we get home from work. It’s usually some kind of tapas-meal – cheese, olives, flatbread, coldcuts – and chocolate for dessert with a glass of wine or three. Sometimes we watch a movie afterwards, or have a bath – but there’s a decadence to just jettisoning evening chores in favour of taking time together, and eating yummy things. You know how good breakfast in bed is? Dinner in bed is better.
3) Birthday Dinner: For my 38th birthday, Brian organized a surprise dinner which included flying a friend down from Bella Coola for a visit! The food was pretty good, but most memorable was the gathering in which I got to see a bunch of friends and have an awesome evening. Plus it was the first time I ever got a surprise party from anyone!
4) Brian’s Birthday Dinner: For Brian’s birthday, I hosted an eleven-person dinner using all Greek recipes. I even made new table linens for the occasion. And it was incredible. Somehow I’ve got to top that all for his 40th which is coming in a few short months!
5) Dave’s Burger Party: This party was well documented, you can read about it elsewhere on my blog. I still think this is the coolest food idea I’ve ever had for a party and we will definitely be doing this again. Every summer at least once.
6) Zuchinni Cake: I found the best zuchinni cake recipe ever this year and can hardly wait for next summer’s squash crop to do it again. Seriously, it’s as good as the best carrot cake you’ve ever had (I love carrot cake).
7) Thanksgiving in NYC. We had Canadian Thanksgiving in New York City with my in-laws. Brian learned how to debone a turkey from his brother. Far too much alcohol was consumed leaving us with a bit mess to clean-up afterwards. Not my idea of a fun night, but memorable for sure.
8 ) Canning: As always we canned a ridiculous amount of food this summer – more than last year. And as always, I complained mid-way through that it just seemed crazy to do so much work. But now that we are entering December and I have regular fresh, home-made preserves, veggies and condiments to draw on I take it all back. I *love* having a surplus of summer goodness in the basement, and it represents a real cost savings, plus adds a variety to our menu we wouldn’t otherwise have. As always I wish that we had canned more tomato products, and next year I’d like to venture a little more into liqueurs since the sage/lemon/honey/vodka infusion I made this year has turned out rather nicely (I decanted it on the weekend).
I am going to do a further reflection on changes to my diet in the past year that I feel good about – but in general 2011 has been a great food year, with lots of social indulgences and parties that I hope will continue into the New Year. Food is so much better shared, and is something worth labouring over to get the best possible result!