These photos are from a year ago. Not timely and yet, timely enough. A reminder, really. These photos take me back to a special dinner, a collaboration between a rising chef and heartfelt farmers. They take me back to the first summer in our dream house. I was covered in sawdust, deep in projects, and missing the summer bucket list activities we usually prioritized. This midsummer celebration was a way to press pause and feel present in the season.
For my 39th year, I wanted to celebrate! There were multiple festivities, various occasions with friends, time pushing myself past my comfort zone, times dancing like I was in high school again, a special dinner with my partner, and a gathering around our loooong dining room table. We completely filled the table for the first time, and my heart felt full of love and gratitude. Plus, I have a very boozy Mint Julep Bundt Cake recipe for you. Cheers!
As a longtime freelancer, I've had to navigate the administrative pains and costs of health insurance on my own, so when my partner Dylan landed his hospital job and benefits package, my ears perked up. When I floated the idea of officially becoming domestic partners so I could be on his insurance, he somewhat jokingly said, "well, you better put a ring on it first." So, I did!
I inherited my love of entertaining from my mother and her mother before her. Their balance of grace and hospitality inspired me to experiment in the kitchen and to share my table. This passion for sharing and bringing people together is the heart of my book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook.
We took our seats, clanked our glasses, shuffled casserole dishes, salad bowls, and the coveted turkey plate. Amidst the excitement to eat, we did pause. We took time to share what about this friend group filled us with gratitude in the last year, and I'm so grateful we did. The table, the food, the drinks are memorable, but those sentimental moments are what truly mark these occasions.
This year, in particular, has felt like a whirlwind, but taking time to look up at the trees, and at the warm hues sweeping the mountainside, has helped me to feel more grounded and present. A warm bite of an apple cider doughnut would help too. Cinnamon-sugar mindfulness at its best.