Oh, What Fun It Is To Host
This Christmas, our coveted California family gathering gets a complete makeover. I have invited everyone to the east coast for our yearly gathering in my 840 square foot apartment in Astoria, NY! 11 of us will be in attendance.
Ever since I can remember, family has flown in from all parts of the US to convene in my childhood home in Orange County, CA. We siblings all bunk up in the "back room": sisters, husbands, fiancées, and family friends alike. Even as our family continues to expand with in-laws, siblings-in-law and pets-in-law in abundance; even as most of us are musicians or performers all with our various gigs, concerts and commitments – we somehow are all able to gather to spend a few days saturated in our family, quirks and all! A very welcomed and treasured experience.
Our holidays are filled with in-house family talent shows, re-runs of favorite clips of "The Voice", mimicking said favorite clips of "The Voice", and of course, feasts, food fests, and plenty of foodie festivities. (Oh yes... and celebrating Jesus' birthday.) (Complete with a cake.)
A lot of our family food traditions started with my Nana who has always been big on Christmas Lamb Roasts, tons of roasted veggies and piles of mashed and sweet potato dishes. She taught me how to make pockets in the lamb for pieces of garlic and rosemary to nest in while it roasted. We also benefited from her nutritional knowledge: helping us to understand how food can be the medicine and the fuel we need to grow strong and tall. I'm 5'11" so that pretty much means she was right all along.
Some of my favorite memories of my dad includes him providing the Christmas entertainment and shenanigans. Morning wake up calls accompanied by a soundtrack of Beyonce, French Horn solos of christmas carols, cantatas, and the USC football fighting song... the latter being the most popular, and finally his contributions of being an eager participant in the consuming of any and all food his daughters make. I blame my foodie-ness on him. And thank him for it.
The delicious sounds and smells of Christmas' past linger in my mind as we look forward to this different kind of Christmas. 11 people in attendance should be 12 but my dad will be with us only in spirit, quite literally. He passed away this spring. While we all knew it was coming, we were never quite ready to experience the loss. And all at once those yearly memories become so treasured and so nostalgic.
So to help us transition into this new dynamic we decided to bring everyone here to NYC. I am so excited to be hosting our Christmas Eve and Christmas morn. I've spent the past 5+ years as a nutritional family chef, creating beautiful feasts, treats and meals for my clients and as much as I have been able, I have always tried to bring home my favorite recipes for my family to experience. Well, for me, this year will be just an added bonus that my family will be in my home and get to experience some of what I experience everyday. What a thing to treasure!
In the spirit of giving to loved ones and sharing in community, I thought it would be fun to invite curious onlookers into my world during this Christmas and Holiday season. I'll be posting meals that I prep, favorite go-to websites for recipes and resources and some extra nuggets of wisdom I learn along the way. Join me in some of the finest kitchen's in NYC, my client's kitchens of course, and get a sneak peak of prep in my own home!
Our 2015 family photo. Dad included. Art by my baby sister, Jenae. (the one in the red)