Thursday, October 2, 2014

the soiree of 2014

Last weekend, the women of my mother’s family gathered at my aunt’s house for the annual soiree. There were twelve of us in all—cousins, sisters-in-law, aunts, nieces, sisters, mothers, etc—plus one little boy baby.

This year I was more excited for the soiree than ever before. Normally, leaving my nest makes me downright grumpy, but this time I was nearly giddy with anticipation. Perhaps it was because I was leaving behind a family that is more self-sufficient than it’s ever been. Maybe it’s because all I had to take was myself and a change of clothes. Maybe it’s because we were under orders not to dress-up which relieved my country bumpkin self. Maybe it’s because I knew there would be wine and coffee. Whatever the reason, I woke up at five on Saturday morning and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was so ready to go.

Earlier in the week I tried to explain my unusually abundant and ever mounting enthusiasm for the weekend’s plans to my friend.

“It’s just that this is different,” I said. “It’s not like a group of girlfriends getting together. This is the women in my family. I think it’s kind of unique and special.”

My friend laughed and said, “Well, that’s an understatement.”

Highlights included:
*Getting waited on hand and foot. Literally. I had my first manicure and pedicure. My aunt bought out the beauty bar for two hours and let us have at it.
*Talking—shrieking—about sex until 2:30 a.m. with the attic-n-air mattress girls.
*The cream pudding and lemon curd dessert served in real eggshells. Also, anise pound cake, a.k.a.toast.
*Sneaking the rest of the chocolate-covered pretzels after everyone else ate a moderate amount.
*Taking two-and-a-half hours to eat dinner in the dark on a deck overlooking the river. Also, the mushroom risotto and popcorn pots de creme.
*Getting locked in the parking garage.
*Watching my glowing sis-in-law with a perfect baby bump score almost every single piece of my aunt’s cast-off clothing. (I made off with a wicked leather coat.)
*Gathering in the sunroom first thing Sunday morning for coffee.
*Feasting on bread: jalapeño, spinach-cheese, cinnamon raisin, chocolate broiche.
*Watching my aunt open her varied hostess gifts: everything from a head scratcher to a giant pumpkin.

From other soirees: 20122011, 2010, 2009, 2008

This same time, years previous: a lesson I'd rather skip, the quotidian (10.1.12), because reading books is dangerous, pulled braised beef, and comparisons.


  1. That's not a soiree - that's a slumber party!

  2. I've been eagerly awaiting news of The Soiree. If I were young and single, I'd be eyeing your elder son, counting the years until marrying into this event was a possibility!

  3. Every time you write about this event, I try to figure out how I could get adopted into this family. This is super special and sounds absolutely perfect.

  4. I tried feebly to recreate a mini version of this soiree at a family event this past summer with zero luck. I am quite jealous of this aspect of your family -- in the best of ways. What's Popcorn Pots de Creme?

    1. I don't think there's any shortcut to pulling this event off. My aunt prepares for weeks---maybe months---and I think she takes a full week off work to get ready.

      Popcorn Pots de Creme are just pots de creme with popcorn infused milk (I think). Salty, buttery, corny, and caramel-y---I loved them.

  5. C'mon... where are the rest of the pictures? More details. Oh and Dr. P... I think I should be invited next year. I can make party hats you know....

  6. Been waitin' on this post! Perfect.

  7. Now I'm jealous too. Both my parents were only children. Family was a rare commodity until my sisters and I started producing some ourselves. Now we have a bigger bunch.

    So how to score that Anise Loaf recipe ...

  8. What fun. I love our small acreage but I often don't feel much like a girl. The pedi and mani... what color pick for your first time? And how does one possibly eat only a moderate amount of chocolate-covered pretzels? :) Love how you're always telling on yourself.