Around here we say goodbye to the old year by cooking, baking, slicing, dicing, and setting up for our annual New Year’s Day bash. The bash rings in the new.
I think it’s a fine way to spend the last day of the year–at home, with some wonderful helping hands, making tons of food. By ten I have over 120 meatballs simmering, two big-ass hams in the oven and a pot of red beans going.
My sweet Kayla is the first to arrive for kitchen duty. At thirteen she’s gotten the hang of things, and I have a couple of dishes earmarked for her. She always makes the bread pudding, from a recipe passed down from my father’s side. And I’ve taught her how to make pasta salad. She’ll also make the brownies for the chocolate trifle. She’s on it. It’s fun for me to have this time with her, with her chatting away, making food, and eating far too many cookies.
Kat and Jason arrive next and dive right in. The dogs are mostly banished outside, and Parker doesn’t appreciate it. They manage to sneak in, must be banished again. Logan heads up to help with manly set up. And Laura arrives to help out. I’ve boiled three dozen eggs to devil. My girls are all over the peeling of same. And the chopping of many, many raw veggies for a crudite.
We cook, stir–Kat is doing BW a solid by keeping up with the dishes. We chop and bake, and hey, it’s the last day of the year so we pop some champagne while we work.
Finished food must be stuffed into refrigerators, and when room runs out put outside on the deck–HIGH where certain dogs can’t get to it.
By evening Laura heads home, as do the kids. Jason and Kat will stay the night and be here to help in the morning. More champagne, and watching the ball drop. (Anyone else notice Ryan Seacrest has elf ears? Just wondering.)
I’m up early as there are things to do on the day. Like an enormous Waldorf salad–or my version thereof. I tell Kat when I see it’s nearly 11–and the party starts at 1–that every year I think I’ve budgeted my time well, and every year I wonder where the morning’s gone. But we get it all done. Pre-made food warming in the oven or on the stove, platters and bowls hauled in, set out. Kat’s artistic arrangements of veggies and cheeses, the bar set and stocked and so on. And I manage to get out of my pjs and dressed with about ten minutes to spare.
We didn’t have a full house. We had a bulging house. I think when the holiday falls on a Friday or Saturday people are more inclined not just to come but to hang out. And we did hang, cheerfully.
It’s so good to have a day with friends, family, with kids running around, dogs wandering around, with food being devoured and enjoyed. After the party gets going I do about ten pounds of spiced shrimp. I think we have a little sandwich baggie of that left and a few scraps of ham. My pals JoAnne and Larry always bring a big pot of crab soup. We have one little serving left so BW can have it for lunch. Otherwise, those bowls, platters, casseroles and serving dishes were pretty much empty by the end of the party.
The new year started off with an appetite–which is satisfying for the cooks.
Good food, good friends, some sparkling beverages and a lot of noise. It’s a great way to write the first page on the story of a new year, as spending time in the kitchen with my girls was a great way to write the last page on the old.
Now I’m packing for a week at the spa, where there will be NO cooking for me!!
Here’s wishing you all the happiest, healthiest, and most loving of new years.