From the minute I pull out my tattered and stained Thanksgiving recipes to well after the New Year’s bottle pop, it’s officially party season at our house. My family revels in the traditions (read: the food). There’s the big lunch outing we have when my sister and her crew arrive in Nashville on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (it usually involves hot chicken), then the croissants and sticky buns my kids and I indulge in on Christmas morning, and, of course, the black-eyed peas and collards that simmer away on New Year’s Day. Oh, and my birthday falls in early January, so we push the whole dry January thing by a month because the party just keeps on rolling. It is, to say the least, my absolute favorite three months of the year.
These past few years have been quieter but no less celebratory for us. And we’re hoping this year brings back all of the kitchen rituals we love. I’m definitely adding a few dishes to the rotation, too, especially after working with chef Vivek Surti on our Thanksgiving feature. I’m probably not brave enough (yet) to deep fry my own turkey like he does year after year, but I’m all in on the lobster dressing and green beans cloaked in coconut cream that Surti serves on the side. And those potato rolls? You might want to make two trays.
I’m also planning to extend the party further into 2022 (don’t we deserve it?) so that I can try my hand at the recipes by chefs Tim Ma and Andrew Chiou, who look to their own pasts, and the holiday traditions to bring us a Chinese New Year feast. Since I’m not fortunate enough to live near Lucky Danger, their fast-casual spot in Washington, DC, these easy-going but celebratory recipes are the next best thing.
There’s plenty more here to give your holidays an extra nudge—like, say, how to make a traditional croquembouche, or a few new riffs for your wintertime cocktail routine. After all that, though, you may want to tackle the trails or hop on two wheels. Our newest team member, assistant editor and intrepid reporter Jacob Hollifield, will motivate you with his recent road trip from Tryon, North Carolina, to Black Mountain. We’re excited to have him on board—and look forward to delivering more of his in-the-field reporting.
Let’s kick off the season right, shall we? A toast from me to you: Here’s to a joyful, soul-filling, and nourishing holiday season—may it last as long as you need it to.
THREE GIFTS I’M GIVING IN 2021
The latest artisanry by Quintin Middleton of Middleton Made Knives is made for chefs and home cooks on the go. I’m adding his heavy-duty, foldable ONA knife to the list for my husband, who takes cooking outside to new levels of fun. middleton-madeknives.bigcartel.com
Hattie Jane’s Creamery amps up the nostalgia at their shops around Middle Tennessee—and now I can ship that lovely sentiment to friends and family around the country, thanks to a newly launched online store. Try the four-pack, which you can customize—don’t sleep on the dairy-free chocoholic. shiphattiejanescreamery.com
A good glass of wine only gets better when you know it’s all for a good cause. The women-owned Teneral Cellars puts women’s health issues front-and-center with their lively and finely structured wines. Bonus? They send $10 of every Women’s Health3-Pack purchase to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, making it a gift that gives twice. teneralcellars.com
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- by Erin Byers Murray