Saturday, December 8, 2012

Magic in the Air

Last night was a special one for me.  I was throwing my annual soup n' sip gathering, which in its own right is a good thing...soup, bread and wine shared with good friends is always a boon, a boost, a buoy (I'll stop there, although I could carry on in adoring alliteration.)  I usually throw this party in the fall months, but it happened to fall during the holidays this year, and I think that's where it will remain.  It was a spirit lifter for me to plan, prepare and anticipate the arrival of this evening.  It felt like a gift to go from this store to that store for the just right ingredients, to arrange the most festive flower (or berry and greens) arrangements, to chop, stir, chiffonade and spice. I made stocks: turkey for the Butternut Squash and Sausage Chowder my Dad is famous for, and chicken for the Fire Roasted Tomato, which was a palette pleaser.  Of course, it was.  It is topped with a crostini and a heap of fine white cheddar and then baked to a golden brown perfection.  There's something that never gets mundane about tomato soup and grilled cheese.  My Cream of Mushroom with Brie is one I plan to tweak when I make it again, but it was a nice contrast to the meaty chowder and the acidic, spicy tomato.

After dinner, we gathered in the living room to exchange gifts.  I asked everyone to bring three of their favorite things...small tokens to share with three friends.  Small and favorite, which as you might expect with eight women came in all shapes and and diverse, but not one duplicate.  We each drew three names and took turns handing out our gifts.  I was impressed by how thoughtful all the gifts were and entertained by the stories behind them.  It felt like kismet that all the different gifts seemed to somehow end up in just the right hands.  I drew the name of exactly the friend I had in mind for the emulsifier, EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  I ended up picking the right friend for my book and reading journal gift.  Everyone received something beautiful, useful or decadent, and some all three. I believe everyone left feeling filled up, cared for and cherished.  They are.

I am just not sure I can wait a whole year to do this again.

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