Friday, October 21, 2016

It's Julia Time!!

Happy Friday, everyone!  This is an exciting weekend as it's Julia Child Night tomorrow!  It's our 8th year of hosting this event, which kind of blows my mind.  It all started with me asking my aunt to help me get a little bit more savvy in the kitchen back in 2009.  The event has changed and grown over the years, and it seems to get better and better each year.

This year we are taking another break from French cuisine. The theme is "U.S. Road Trip" and we will be making small plates with foods from different regions of the U.S. It's going to be so much fun!  I think we'll have close to 30 people in attendance so it will be quite the group. This event has kind of become an early "Thanksgiving" for my mom's side of the family. As everyone's families have grown, we have stopped getting together for major holidays, so I am glad this event gives us an excuse to gather the extended family together!

I thought it would be fun to look back through the ages.

Year 1 - Paella at Aunt Barb's and Uncle Paul's house

It's fun to see how the kids have grown and changed over the years! This is Matthew in year 1.

My aunt, the mastermind behind this event, and me, stirring the paella 
Year 2 - Beef Bourguignon at Aunt Barb's and Uncle Paul's house

The main entree - yum!

My mom, aunt Barb, and me
 Year 3 - Cassoulet at Aunt Barb's and Uncle Paul's house

The main entree with a side of yummy cabbage!
The annual apron photo!
Year 4 -  Coq au Vin at Aunt Barb's and Uncle Paul's house

This little guy, Matthew, has grown so much since the first picture! He's enjoying his ratatouille in this photo!
This potato soup is one of my favorite dishes we've made - love the JC garnish, too!
Year 5 - Pot au Feu at Aunt Barb's and Uncle Paul's house. I was living in Charlotte this year so was VERY happy to be able to come home for the event. I sobbed when my aunt and uncle dropped me off at the airport that year and cried for the entire flight back to Charlotte.  :(

The guys get in on the fun, too!

The salad this year was a Nicoise Salad, which is one of my favorite French dishes!
Year 6 - Chicken Provencal at Aunt Barb's and Uncle Paul's house

The main dish!

The apron photo has REALLY grown over the years!
Year 7 - Julia traveled to the New Orleans region, and the event moved to my brother Kevin's house.

Phil and I at the event last year. He's been to 2 events so is still learning how to pace himself when eating. Last year he had seconds during the amuse bouche course and cleaned his plate - and felt awful afterwards!  It's soooo much food so you really have to pace yourself.

My mom, aunt Barb and me
It's always fun to look back at these photos.  There are so many good memories.  Life has changed so much over those 8 years.  Different jobs, different relationships, I've lived in different cities and homes, different states of contentment with life. But these photos remind me that family will always be my "one true thing." And for that, I'll be forever grateful.  I'm happy to say that today I am probably the  happiest that I've ever been over the course of these last 7 years - which feels good to say.

Tomorrow night we will gather together as a family at my cousin Suzanne's house (Barb and Paul's daughter) and joyfully celebrate our love for fine food and family. But there will be a tinge of sadness as this year's event falls on what should have been my uncle Keith's 61st birthday. We planned this event before his sudden passing in August. His birthday will be a sad and heavy day for our family, so it seems only right that we'll all be gathered together. Our signature drink this year is a simple gin and tonic, which we chose in honor of Keith since it's his favorite cocktail. So tomorrow night, we'll raise our glasses and lift our hearts to him, and take comfort in the company of family. 


Emilie said...

It's been another year already?! I love these recaps and look forward to hearing all about this year's event. Have a great time this weekend!!

Carolina John said...

Yay!! I love seeing the pictures from Julia Child Night. It's always such a fun event.

Linda said...

I tell you this every year but I LOVE that you have this tradition.

Jeanie said...

I think you will offering quite a toast to your Uncle Keith. Yes, bittersweet but you know he'll be there in spirit. I am surprised at how many years it has been -- so glad you shared the photos and themes from all the others. How I love this event your family has!

Amber said...

I have been reading your blog for every single Julia Child Night! I can't believe it's been 8 years already. Time flies. I think this is such a fun and awesome tradition and I love that you guys have made such an incredible annual event out of it! Have so much fun tomorrow night. I can't wait to see photos and hear about the food you have for Julia's trip across the US! That's a cool theme!! :)

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Have a great weekend with family! I love to read your recaps!

Sandra Bond said...

I love that tradition of yours! Can't wait to hear about the event. Have so much fun.

Stephany said...

I love this tradition in your family! Such a special and fun way to get the whole family together. Have a blast!

Abby said...

I keep thinking this is a new thing -- it's been 8 years! Unreal! started this right after we moved! Bummed I haven't been able to take part in this great tradition. Some day!!

Fun looking at the pictures over the years!

Charbelle4 said...

I have tears. I'm so sorry you cried all the way back to Charlotte. I wish that the whole situation hadn't been quite so miserable!!! I was so thankful that you were close by, but knew where your heart was!

How wonderful that y'all were able to be together on a bittersweet day. You know that they JC posts are my very favorite!!! I love seeing how it's grown and changed. I LOVE knowing how happy you are!!!!

The food posts, oh my word yum!!!!!! LOL I can definitely see how you have to pace yourself!!!

Marlys Dotzenrod said...

I, also, was taken aback when I realized it was our 8th year, and we have never missed one time! The food is always beyond wonderful, and the family all sharing in the event is such fun. The food was again excellent this year, and so much fun to celebrate together. Our hearts were heavy as we toasted to Keith, and also to Kent, his twin, who is struggling in the loss of his close brother. But we celebrate the fact that two brothers have seen cardiologists since his death and have received and are receiving life saving procedures. Can't wait to see the pictures of this year's party!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Okay, I don't know how it's already Julia Child night time of year again - wow! I feel like you just did Julia Child night a couple months ago, haha! I'm not sure where the time is going. It's very strange. Anyway, LOVE the JC night, and how big it's gotten. It's hard to believe you've been doing it for 8 years.

Gracie said...

Watching the history in pictures really shows how this has become a cornerstone event for your family. I'm behind on blogs, but I can't wait to see how the dishes-of-the-US theme turned out!