I've kept a journal for years. There's something so satisfying to me about capturing snapshots of my life, the highs and the lows, in handwritten word. There's also nothing more embarrassing than going back through old journals and getting a glimpse of my past self, including my unnecessarily melodramatic interpretations of high school and college life. A wise friend, upon being asked how she put up with me back then, claimed that we were all annoying. I certainly hope so, and since we're still close, I think I believe her.
Anyway, it's been awfully quiet on my blog for the past few weeks, and that's only because I've been completely immersed in holiday parties and indulgences. I mentioned before that I spent my first Thanksgiving in Richmond, and cooked my first turkey, without any hint of aroma other than the lemon and rosemary that we stuffed into the bird (phew!). Davy and I also managed to stay in Richmond for Christmas and New Year's, and celebrated with family and dear friends.
A funny thing happens when you don't have travel time to reflect on the holidays. Or maybe it's just me and all of the yoga I've been doing, but I felt that I was more aware of each moment as it was happening. Rather than rushed packing, powering through a few days' worth of concentrated family time and battling traffic only to come back to the daily grind, I found that I was able to truly enjoy our company and value the activities we shared.
Of course, many of those activities revolved around eating. In the past five weeks, I've been to Proper Pie Company three times, twice with out of town guests, and it's fantastic on each occasion. It's a small, cozy shop run by friends of a friend, and the love that goes into those pies is evident as soon as you near the door and smell the pastry dough. My personal favorite so far is the lentil curry, with either the regular and vegan (potato) crust, and I haven't even delved into the sweet selection much yet. If you're able to, you really should go soon.
When I wasn't dining at Proper Pie, I was collaborating with loved ones on meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the days before and after. There were bay scallops, oysters, a memorable green bean casserole, the best ham and bacon ever, CSA vegetables from Chicago and Norfolk, pappardelle, simple and wonderful corn dip, Billy Bread, braised grouper, and gorgeous produce from Tomten Farm. On top of that, my sister- and brother-in-law gave me an ice cream maker for Christmas, and my dad and I christened it with a batch of cinnamon ice cream. Homemade ice cream with my new machine is way too easy to make, and way too good.
Last night a group of friends, new and old, ushered 2013 in at our house with ham biscuits, barley salad, Nutella cookies (Carrie, we need that recipe!), Turkish spiced turkey patties, kale and leek flatbread, and plenty of sparkling beverages. I promise there are pictures to come when I can get my act together.
The food was phenomenal, if I do say so myself, but having a group of some of my favorite people around for hours, including a pre-party bonus visit from a friend who no longer lives here, is really hard to beat. New Year's Eve, and the holiday season in general, was so memorable, in fact, that I felt the need to document it in writing. I'm certain I won't be embarrassed in the least to relive these memories in years to come.