Laurie and I have a theory that every good party starts in the kitchen. And in our family, most of them also migrate there during the course of an evening. Laurie has a great kitchen in that it’s open to the living room, with a breakfast bar between the two spaces. She always sets up her appetizers and drinks on the bar, so she can converse with her guests while putting the finishing touches on her meals. Her guests keep her company and usually help out–win-win! The same goes for my sister-in-law Vicki’s fabulous mountain kitchen. Mine’s a bit quirkier, more like a train station, but I like it.
Our Aunt Mary’s kitchen is a different story. It’s probably twice the size of our kitchens, but it still gets pretty crowded. We always try to have appetizers of some sort ready for guests as they arrive, but the day of our tea was drizzly and cool, so we all had champagne in the kitchen while everyone chatted, listened to music and kicked in to help make our afternoon tea.
While our hostess sat with her injured ankle wrapped in ice and propped up on a stool, Maddie assembled the trifle and Allisande made tea. Laurie and I made sandwiches, which was pretty easy, since we’d really done all the prep work in our own kitchens, where we were able to commune with our own food processors and favorite knives. Don’t get me wrong, Mary has all the right stuff–we just can’t find it in her enormous 1920s-era kitchen!
Barb artfully arranged fresh fruit on a crystal dish that she had foraged for in Mary’s butler’s pantry. (She forswears other desserts. Such virtue!) One of the fun things about Mary’s house is that her butler’s pantry is chock-full of antique serving dishes passed on by her and Phil’s moms and aunts. Dee and Ryan arrived late because they had to work late, so they missed out on the fun in the kitchen. But with everyone helping, we pulled together sandwiches for 10 in record-breaking time.