Sunday, November 27, 2011

Welcome to Our Home

We had 27 people over for Thanksgiving--and still wound up with TONS of leftovers. I mean, we had two turkeys and one was hardly touched! I sent food home with guests, but still had more chow than I could manage.

I'm a Scot, and I hate waste. But there was more food in my refrigerator than I could manage. So...we had a party tonight! I set out a platter of turkey and honey-baked ham. We added rolls, carrots, cheese slices, chips and dip, brownies, fruit salad, lettuce salad, and brownies. For drinks, I made Campari and orange mixers. We also had an assortment of beers, wine (white and red), and "dark and stormies" (rum and ginger beer).

Fourteen people came. My pal Linda Hengerer brought her fabulous cookies, which we call "crack" because you get hooked on them. Her husband Ray made German potato salad. Here's his recipe:

Ray Hengerer's German Potato Salad

Boil 5 lbs of potatoes
Cook 1 lb bacon and 1 chopped red onion. When done, add cider vinegar to taste.
Drain potatoes. Add bacon and red onion and cider vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve it warm.

Oh, man. Is it ever good!

Joyce Roseman played the keyboard to get us warmed up. Then my husband David, my son Michael, and Ray played jazz. Michael took over as DJ, playing all the hits they demand in the clubs in Miami. We danced until we were all hot and flushed. The party moved out onto the deck to take advantage of the cool breeze. We danced under the stars with the surf in the background.

I'm not sure what makes a good party. I believe it's probably a combination of things--food, music, and friends. I love the fact that we have friends from all walks of life, and I think that makes for stimulating conversation. The food must be plentiful, so that people don't feel shy about eating. The job of the host/hostess is to not only introduce people, but to share something interesting about each person so the conversation can flow.

David thinks the key is a good combination of people and a comfortable environment. We don't stress about spills. Our furnishings are comfy. I like to buy a couple dozen white washclothes and put them in the bathrooms along with baskets marked "clean handtowels" and "dirty handtowels" so folks can dry their hands comfortably. (Silly maybe, but I hate paper towels and I also hate using communal hand towels. Uck.) I love paper plates and plastic cups--it's so easy. We fill coolers with ice and drinks, so folks can always find their favorites.

What do you do to make people feel welcome? What do you think makes for a good party?


Linda O. Johnston said...

Sounds like you had a great time as well as great food--twice!--Joanna. Hope you're not feeling too let down now that both parties are over.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Oh, no. I'm happily "socialized"!

Camille Minichino said...

Wow! I want to be on the invite list!

I love your hand towel/baskets idea and plan to implement it for the rest of the season.

Also, I noticed brownies listed twice -- now I really want to be there!

Liz said...

How very nice, and the hand towel notion is great. A friend recently used fishing line to suspend bracelets down to her sink, for hand towels. Keeps them visible and off the limited counter space, as well as being attractive. Coupled with your "used" towel bin, works for me.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Yeah, I'm proud of the hand towel idea. It's green, it's clean, and it's easy!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Camille, I made your cousin's cranberry squares for Thanksgiving and I'm stocking up on c-berries so I can make them for months to come!

Terri Thayer said...

Sounds like fun, Joanna. Impromptu parties are the best.