It’s a funny thing, but after the mad rush before the holidays when it seems there’s never enough time, once the holidays hit time seems to stand still, at least for me. Routines are put on hold as we disconnect from daily life to reconnect with loved ones. It’s all so worth it.
Now it’s time to play catch up and to catch up with you, my lovely readers, as we look forward together to a new year and all that it promises.
My holidays were wonderful, thank you for asking, and I hope yours were the same. I got some great Christmas presents from family and friends. My friend, Earline, who is truly the busiest person I know all year round, but especially during the holidays, always stops by a few days before Christmas with some little Christmas “doodles” as she calls them (guest soaps, home-made Christmas cookies, a tiny Teddy Bear wrapped in candy-cane-striped jammies and night cap) and we sit down for some girl talk and a cup of tea before bolting out of the Christmas starting gate.
But my absolute favorite Christmas gift this year was not something I got but something someone else got because of me. Huh? Let me explain.
You may remember that I met some friends for tea at the Rittenhouse Hotel’s Mary Cassatt Tea Room the week before Christmas (see Christmas – Ready or Not). You may not remember, because I didn’t tell you, that as I left the tea room with my friend Anna, I saw this fabulous dress in a display case in the hotel lobby.
The dress was from Boyds Philadelphia, and the instant I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for her. Don’t forget, I spent years dressing clients so I have an eye for these things.
“Look, Anna,” I said, “This is your dress. It’s perfect for you. You would be stunning in it.”
Anna looked at it and agreed it was gorgeous, then wrinkled her cute little nose and said, “It’s probably very expensive, and I don’t really have anywhere to wear it.”
She was right on the first point (It was very expensive!) but wrong on the second. Like us, Anna and her husband are fellow opera goers at the Met and all over the world, and the opera house is one of the few places you CAN wear a dress like that. Besides, when you own “a dress like that” you find a place to wear it, even if it’s just to take out the trash.
Anyway, I found the dress on the Boyds website and sent her the picture. She showed it to her husband and he agreed that the dress was, indeed, too expensive. What a pity!
On Christmas Eve night I got the following text message from Anna.
“I just got my Christmas present from N (Anna’s husband). Big box from Boyds. The dress!!!! Cannot believe it....What color shoes?”
I joked to my husband that I should get a finder’s fee from N to which my husband replied with a grin, “I think you’ve already cost him enough money, don’t you?” Not only do I NOT feel the least bit guilty, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy about someone else’s Christmas present. Can’t wait to see her in “the dress”!!!!
We’re still in the deep freeze here and expecting more snow over the weekend. This weather always makes me think of one of my favorite family-style, French/Swiss/Savoyard comfort foods (Wow!! That’s a mouthful) – Raclette. I could have thrown in hearty, satisfying, belly-warming and the best way to spend a convivial evening around a hot grill with family and friends, as well, but you get the idea.
Raclette is actually the name of the cheese that you melt in your personal pan under the grill and then scrape off (racler –“to scrape” in French) and put over an assortment of vegetables and charcuterie (deli meats) that you have grilled on top of the grill. You can also add various sauces and/or grainy mustards. Yummm! You’ll never have so much fun sitting around a hot grill.
My husband had his first Raclette dinner when we visited friends in Courchevel in the French Alps to celebrate my 50th birthday. It was truly a memorable evening, at least what I can remember of it, that lasted well into the early morning.
You can get a Raclette grill in the US, but getting the right ingredients to go with it can be harder to come by, unless you live in New York. New York Cheese Party, a young company founded by a French couple who, like many of us, really miss the real thing, have created a business that will deliver everything you need chez vous for your very own Raclette party. Wouldn’t this be the perfect way to spend a snowy evening? All you need to add is the wine, the friends and the ugly sweaters!! Voilà!! What a great way to start off the New Year!!
And while we’re on the subject of food, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Alina Dizik “On – and Off – Menus in 2018” clues us in as to what will and won’t be on the menus of high end restaurants in the new year. Apparently, the decision to take things “off” the menu is dictated by what shows up “on” medium-priced to fast food restaurants. In other words, if it’s on the menu at Olive Garden, it’s off the menu at trendy eateries. So, what gets the axe for 2018?
Avocado toast is showing up in too many low-end restaurants and is too too 2017.
Tuna Tartare is a trend that has peaked (yawn) say the Gourmet Gods.
Kale is soooo 2010 yuppie puppy “Whole Foods”. To be honest, I was never wild about it.
Veal is no longer trendy not because of any animal rights issues but because it requires a sauce and diners are apparently trending away from sauces.
Since most of my favorite foods (Artichauts, Fois Gras, Cassoulet, Blanquette de Veau, Pot au Feu, Coq au Vin, Tarte Tatin) go back hundreds of years, not to mention Raclette which dates back to medieval times, I guess I’m not going to be a cutting edge foodie in 2018. I’ll drink to that!!
Tous mes meilleurs vœux du nouvel an.
Happy New Year !!!