A toast to 2011

Toasting the New Year with 1990 Cristal

Now that—egads!—it’s 2012, I’ve been looking back at my 2011 blog posts, which is causing me to blush with shame at how little I’ve posted since last September. And by “little,” I mean “not at all.” I could come up with any number of excuses for my indolence, but here are the two greatest hits.

First, a few months ago my nurse practitioner informed me that I needed to watch my cholesterol and blood sugar. Though this was unwelcome news, it should surprise no one who has read my posts about my love of berry trifles …

Summer berry trifle

or my unwavering devotion to cheese …

Solstmas cheese platter

This means I’ve been concocting a lot fewer buttery desserts and lot more lentils and brown rice lately, shaking fewer cocktails and making more tofu curry. And when I might otherwise be photographing my latest efforts in the kitchen, I’m more likely to be playing tennis with my husband.

The second reason is that while the Cocktail Host is out of work, I’ve been working time and a half trying to keep up with paying the bills, which means less time for cooking and blogging, and less money for hosting big blowouts.

That said, neither of these is a great reason for not keeping up with my blog. Because hosting get-togethers is pretty much my favorite hobby, I find that I host parties or have people over for dinner no matter how limited my means.

In part I can do this because I’ve gotten pretty good at turning whatever odds and ends are in the pantry into a credible dinner or hors d’oeuvres platter, but it’s primarily because we have a phenomenal group of friends that bring the party with them whenever they visit. For example, if we were left to our own devices, we might have had to cancel our seventh annual daylong open house (with seventy or so guests) on Christmas Day, but thanks to friends who gave us a big stack of firewood, brought buckets of champagne, made outrageously decadent eggnog, and did a thousand and one other things, from washing up dinner plates during the party to bringing an expensive bottle of Chartreuse so I could make one of my favorite cocktails to pitching in some cash for all the booze we bought for the party, it went on as always. And for this I am truly, deeply grateful.

Also, because of my generous (and food- and drink-loving) friends, as well as my work in food and travel publishing, I often get have experiences that are well above my pay grade. I visited New York City a few months ago and, before having a decadent dinner with some other food writers and editors and Tim and Nina Zagat (yes, those Zagats) …

Dinner at Del Posto

I visited some of New York City’s swankiest speakeasies for some out-of-this-world cocktails …

Milk & Honey cocktails

And even when I’m at home, I have it better than I deserve. I go to bars where I know the mixologists, who often slip me some fun new spirit to taste. I go to Boxing Day parties where The Working Cook prepares local whole-grain polenta with a decadent ragù. I have sommelier friends who never show up to a party without a fine bottle of wine. And I attend New Year’s Eve parties where Mr. Manhattan opens a honey-colored  bottle of 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal that he’s been aging for 20 years …

Photo by Arlie Ausich

So even if it means that my newest food obsession is vegan cooking (oh dear!) rather than blood orange cocktails (my two posts of 2011 with the largest number of visitors), I’m hoping to keep up the blogging in 2012. And if the next photo I post is of a mess of delicious but ugly lentils with brown rice, well, I apologize in advance.

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2 thoughts on “A toast to 2011

  1. Stephanie Moore says:

    Finally a new post. I was beginning to think you retired!!!! I did host a NYE party here. Nothing fancy, just set alcohol out on the counter with some garnishes and let my friends and neighbors (ww and la to name a few)help themselves, we played drunko and had a great time. (even after working a 12hr shift)

  2. I had heard you were going to be hosting a party and glad you had a great time! It doesn’t have be complicated to be a lot of fun. I have to know, though, what “drunko” is! It sounds quite dangerous, especially if WW and LA were involved.

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