Back in Business

Cake by the divine Mary Caramel Weatherby, The Sugar Woods
Oh friends, my sincerest apologies for being absent from you for so long.  I have returned from the dark side (otherwise known as the end of the school year) and am bringing tidings of exciting and wonderful things!

Despite all of my immaculate planning, life does not move in a straight line.  My journey tends to meander and sometimes move around and around, still moving forward but not exactly in an unimpeded straight path.  This is one of those times.

I have been mulling over how to move my party throwing back into the professional realm.  It had to be in a manageable and NON CATERING way.  Seriously.  Catering on a large scale is a circle of hell for me.  I truly have a passion for entertaining.  I want to share that passion with others.  I want that creative muscle to be used.   Just when I asked the universe for guidance, opportunity presented itself.  It's just magic when that happens.

I moved back into the event planning business with the Kentucky Waterways Alliance last night with their 20th Anniversary Gala and it was one hell of a party.   Hosted by Christy Brown at Poplar Terrace, her spectacular house and grounds provided the back drop for food, drink,  music, and much merry making.  

Wiltshire Pantry did the catering and Susan and her staff were just remarkable.  The food was local, Kentucky Proud fare and the menu was full of such good food like tiny potato leek cakes with smoked Kentucky Trout, Marksbury Farms lamb meatballs, Kentucky Country ham wrapped asparagus and three food stations worth of gorgeousness   I crafted a specialty cocktail for each food station themed around rivers and creeks.  

Billy Goat Strut Revue provided us with their flavor of "Bourbon Jazz" that made everyone want to dance all night.  Silent auction, stream tables, and the best vendors anyone could hope to work with made the night spectacular and fun.  A good time was had by all.

Business cards by First Impression, FSE.  Custom monogram by Jan Hurst Calligraphy.

So I'm back in business.  And it doesn't suck.  And I had forgotten what amazing energy and synergy is created from good people working big events together.  And I had a ball.   And the universe continues to bring me exactly what I need.

In other news,  a friend of mine was reading Southern Living this month and came across this poem and sent it to me.  When I read it I instantly started crying and remembered so much of why I feel so connected when I cook for people I love and entertain in general.  Last night at the event, I was standing with my sister and taking it all in and the band played a song called, "Pistol Packing Mama, Lay That Pistol Down" and instantly I thought about a story my Mamaw used to tell.  

One night (dancing and imbibing may or may not have been involved) she and Papaw came home and got into the bed and the overhead light was on.  She told Papaw she hated that light so much and if she had a gun, she would shoot it out.  He handed her a pistol and she shot it out.  When her sister and brother in law heard the story, her brother in law gave her six kinds of grief about it, teased her the way only a brother in law could, and threatened to tell her daddy, whom she adored and would rather eat glass than disappoint.  Her brother in law would sing "Pistol Packing Mama" in front of him when they were around and she would laugh and laugh and beg him not to sing that song.  She would've loved to hear that song done so right last night.  I missed her phone call this morning asking me what pretty things people were wearing and how my clothes looked and were the politicians drunk and acting bad.

Summer is here in Kentucky and I sigh with the trees at it's arrival.  The following weeks bring some much needed rest and swim lessons galore and, of course, cocktails on the porch.  Maybe set a table or stand around a grill or lift the cornmeal to the light.  Summer isn't staying nearly long enough, friends.  

by Jake Adam York

Because my grandmother made me
the breakfast her mother made her,
when I crack the eggs, pat the butter
on the toast, and remember the bacon
to cast iron, to fork, to plate, to tongue,
my great grandmother moves my hands
to whisk, to spatula, to biscuit ring,
and I move her hands too, making
her mess, so the syllable of batter
I’ll find tomorrow beneath the fridge
and the strew of salt and oil are all
memorials, like the pan-fried chicken
that whistles in the grease in the voice
of my best friend’s grandmother
like a midnight mockingbird,
and the smoke from the grill
is the smell of my father coming home
from the furnace and the tang
of vinegar and char is the smell
of Birmingham, the smell
of coming home, of history, redolent
as the salt of black-and-white film
when I unwrap the sandwich
from the wax-paper the wax-paper
crackling like the cold grass
along the Selma to Montgomery road,
like the foil that held
Medgar’s last meal, a square of tin
that is just the ghost of that barbecue
I can imagine to my tongue
when I stand at the pit with my brother
and think of all the hands and mouths
and breaths of air that sharpened
this flavor and handed it down to us,
I feel all those hands inside
my hands when it’s time to spread
the table linen or lift a coffin rail
and when the smoke billows from the pit
I think of my uncle, I think of my uncle
rising, not falling, when I raise
the buttermilk and the cornmeal to the light
before giving them to the skillet
and sometimes I say the recipe
to the air and sometimes I say his name
or her name or her name
and sometimes I just set the table
because meals are memorials
that teach us how to move,
history moves in us as we raise
our voices and then our glasses
to pour a little out for those
who poured out everything for us,
we pour ourselves for them,
so they can eat again.

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