Have you ever had an evening where you really, really needed (and you're going to have to excuse me the cliché) to feel the love - and you actually got what you needed?
That's what my umptieth birthday party was like on Saturday night. It was the sort of evening where you wrap yourself in a delicious warmth, a sense of being surrounded by dear family who are also true friends, and true friends (some of whom you've known, as you might say, "since before we were born") who feel like -- and really are, in the best sense -- family.
Pics are lacking at the moment, since I didn't bring a camera, and those that others took are still forthcoming. Above is a plate that blurrily shows some of the spoils that my darling cousin Diane (in whose home we were) and I were left fighting over at the end of the evening. Among the five(!) desserts, the only reason the fabulous Trianon cake and the stupendous chocolate gingerbread were left is because the makers (equally fabulous Bakerina and completely stupendous Bunni) made two each of those. So alas, there's no chocolate raspberry cake or pistachio nougat cream cake or Lemon Hoo-Ha! (and yes, Lemon Hoo-Ha! Therein lies a tale and a recipe for another time) left to show you.
Nor are there yet picture/samples of Julia Child's paté with fig jam or Amanda Hesser's lamb pitas or devilled eggs with smoked paprika or Thai-style shrimp fritters, or my own Tunisian-Russian eggplant salad or Asian blood-orange chicken wings, or rosemary-lemon-white bean spread or Maryland crab dip or marinated chevre or a platter of other cheeses (served with a June Taylor plum paste hoarded for just such an occasion)...
...because, well, not all of it, but almost all of it got eaten up.
While I was cooking and prepping all of this, I felt somewhat despondent, thinking that I'd waaay overdone it with the food, and that we would all be swamped with too many leftovers. Not so. The crowd of musicians and visual artists, helping professionals, theater folks, educators, science/medicine professionals, lawyers, non-profiteers, and writers descended like locusts. Fortified by Scott Peacock's champagne punch as well as lots of our favorite red and some of our favorite white that we'd laid in, they demolished the platters.
The theme was clearly *eclectic mix* both in the food and the folks. My darling husband provided a fab music mix, and everyone ate, drank, talked, mingled, laughed uproariously, found six or many less degrees of separation (some quite amazing connections, actually), made new friends, and stayed late.
We finally left in the exuberant state of happy exhaustion that comes of a successful party, and the knowledge that whatever else life may bring, uh-huh, the love is there, whenever you have a chance to put it all together.