Happy New Years! I’m a bit early but better early than never!
We’re having dinner in (with friends) again this year. It’s been a tradition for the last 5 or 6 years – we all get together, often here and have a big meal. It’s relatively new to me – I used to stay in and hide from the New Year; the evening was often one of quiet reflection with immediate family and, maybe, a friend or two.
Dana and I have been fortunate to have friends who enjoy our cooking and offer to chip in (with work, costs, anything at all) so it allows for an unbelievable evening. Everyone brings wine and we set in for a long evening of dining.
In an odd way, the evening hasn’t changed a lot. I still reflect a lot on the year gone by – though mostly in a culinary way. Having a chance to cook an all-out menu for a group of people year-after-year really lets me see how my progression as a cook has come. It allows me to see what I’ve learned in the last year and reflect even further back to see how far I’ve come (and how far there is yet to go).
Almost everything on this years menu is made my hand: biscuits, noodles, pie and tortillas. 5 years ago I couldn’t imagine making any of it. I was kitchen curious and even kitchen excited and maybe even kitchen passionate but I wasn’t as kitchen competent as I wished.
I still have a lot to learn (and signed up for a cooking class in January to start that path) but I’m excited to be tabling my second 12-course tasting menu of my life tonight. Guests will start arriving in less than 3 hours and there’s still much to be done (including having a shower) but I’m really pumped to be serving a group of hungry friends.
The meal will be very casually-paced (about 4-6 hours) and with plenty of socializing breaks between courses. We’re hosting it in a nearby coffee shop (owned by a friend) and have been prepping for the last two days. I just get excited thinking about the evening ahead. We’ve posted some teaser pictures of things being made on our Facebook group, will be sharing some pictures of the plates in the kitchen tonight and posting the menu tomorrow (many of the recipes will follow in the coming weeks).
I hope you have a wonderful end to 2012 and an awesome start to 2013. And if, like me, you want to continue to learn more about traditional cooking, preserving and increasing your cooking repertoire, I hope you’ll join us in the journey and share your experiences as we go!