I recently was invited to a holiday menu make-over party. It was thrown by two friends from church who used to professionally cater. They have a contagious passion for food and hospitality that shines through with their eye for detail and joy and freedom in the kitchen. I have been encouraged and inspired by their view of hospitality. They believe that making food and gathering people around the table, is not just a cultural ritual to challenge our cooking and decorating abilities. It is actually rich with meaning and purpose and just by feeding others we are tangibly loving one another and creating community.
When we first arrived at the party they gave us all a magnet for our fridge that says, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” By Oscar Wilde. The point of gathering others is not to impress or inflate. It’s to meet each other in our messy lives so we can remember the blessings and laugh. I will be going into this year with freedom from perfection.
Will I have candles lit in the bathroom with a fall display of overflowing cornucopia? No. Will my food be pinterest perfect? No. Will the salad be forgotten in the fridge till after dessert? Most likely. Will we laugh? Yes Will we take pause and remember how we have been blessed? Yes Will we leave feeling connected and understood and full? I hope so.
The holidays are special, so make it your own. Embrace the beauty of the people and the taste of the wine in the midst of the mess of your kitchen this year. I challenge you.
I will leave you with this 3 Herb Butter recipe
3 Herb Butter
Tucking this butter under the skin of your holiday bird will intensify the flavor of the meat and help create the base to an incredible gravy.
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbs. butter over medium heat until it begins to foam. Add the shallots and cook until soft and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and boil until it’s completely evaporated 5-8 minutes. Stir in the parsley, thyme, and sage and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes more. Transfer to your mixing bowl and refrigerate. When well chilled, put the remaining butter in the bowl and mix with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute.
On a large piece of plastic wrap, shape the herb butter into a log. Wrap in plastic and freeze.
MAKE AHEAD TIP
The butter can made up 2 months ahead of time if kept in the freezer. You can then take it straight from the freezer and put it under the skin of the bird. That way it doesn’t all melt and slide away before you get it in the oven.