I find so often with the slow, intentional labors of love, the pieces start to fall into place and exceed even my obsessive planning. This gathering centered around a bird. Beyond the decision to confit a bird (a first for me), I felt a different sort of reverence for this bird. I didn't just pick up a plasticized cut of meat from the neon-lit cooler. Our friend waited in the cold (this is one part of hunting I do not understand), hunted this bird, plucked its painterly feathers and [mostly] cleaned it (Josh, you could have been a bit more thorough, but we'll allow it). We foraged winter branches, berries and greens from our dog's happy place, which became a centerpiece backdrop for the pheasant feathers. We set the table, dimmed the lights, and the dining room felt pleasantly small and cozy as it brimmed with friends new and old and laughter.
Though I didn't make the trip to Punxsutawney this year, I did celebrate Groundhog Day in spirit. Punxsutawney Phil can be a controversial character when he sees his shadow and predicts more winter. I happen to like the snowy months (don't hate me), so I'm fine with that furball either way. However, if there's one friend of mine who would really like Phil (for the wrong reasons), it's my Julep girl.
With temperatures dipping into single and negative digits, the only reason to leave the couch is to make warm drinks. Here's some ideas to keep you cozy.