The idea for this blog came to me after an elaborate Thanksgiving feast at my home. The menu included roast turkey, of course, three kinds of cranberries, mushroom herb stuffing, Moroccan vegetable stew, baked yams with maple syrup, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, roasted purple potatoes, roasted root vegetable salad; and as a starter, whole wheat pizzas with mushrooms, fontina cheese and truffle oil.
The table was set with exquisite bone china, a damask table cloth from Italy, my Mom’s sterling silver candlesticks and a seasonal centerpiece — kind of like my Mom’s Thanksgiving. It was very elaborate, totally magical and stress free.
My guests were surprised at how calm I was and how smoothly the evening flowed. They asked lots of questions and of course requested recipes.
Based on their reactions and questions, I realized that the art of stress free entertaining and sharing meals with family and friends was something that seemed to be lost. It was too hard, too time consuming, too expensive and just too stressful.
I recognized that beyond the recipes for great food, I knew how to throw a great party. I knew how to plan it so it was stress free. I knew how to execute it so it was lively and fun.
From the beginning, my intent in creating this blog was to invite you to come to the party, to be a guest in my home, to join in the celebration and inspire you to create your own magical celebrations.
The photos, recipes and detailed tabletop descriptions give you a glimpse of what my parties are like, but now you get to actually be there through the videos.
At the same Thanksgiving that I described, I met Xu Zhang. My daughter Vera asked to invite a friend, and of course I said yes. Xu arrived at my home with beautiful flowers and was interesting, engaging and charming. She also liked to eat — my idea of a perfect guest!
Xu also turned out to be a gifted filmmaker and storyteller. I asked her to do the videos and bribed her with leftovers. I knew her to a be a talented writer and director who recently graduated from the MFA program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. (One of Xu’s films, En Route, which I have seen and loved, has been accepted into several international film festivals.)
I told her to do whatever she wanted. Xu was a guest at each of these parties. She had complete control over the filming and editing of the videos.
Many thanks to Xu for coming to the parties! Enjoy!
Filmed and Edited by Xu Zhang