Book Review: Homemade Gatherings

Why I picked it: We host several socials in our home every year, from four to fifty guests, making a book like this perfect for me. ~ April 8, 2014 release date

Synopsis: From the décor, to the entertainment, on down to the recipes themselves, Handmade Gatherings presents inspired suggestions for thoughtful, flavorful, festive communal dining.

Here you'll find sixteen parties built around the rhythm of the seasons. Frosty winter fetes, lush springtime soirees, sultry summer get-togethers, and crisp autumn affairs--it's all here. Food, décor, crafts, and more are part of each event, all collectively assembled and executed. Throw memorable gatherings with your loved ones, enjoy the food, connect with your community, and get caught up in the splendor of it all.

Quick Take:  I should hold off sharing this review until April, but I read this book in one day, so excited that I want to share the book and a some weblinks with you.  I know a few of you are crafters, interested in local/organic, and gardening so I can't imagine holding this a secret any longer.

The book is filled with tips from concept to invitation, coordinating the menu and helping with the decorations.  As a hostess, you want your gatherings to be lasting memories of delicious food, enjoyable company, and most importantly you shouldn't overlook the setting.  Taking the time to create a mood/decor for the gathering is a must.

- Photography: I found myself looking at the details, getting ideas, seeing the end product along with the written descriptions.  Just lovely.

- Potluck socials are simple and delightful.  I'm planning to embrace the potluck a few times in 2014 (I already have an idea brewing).  This book shares great tips to ensure the meal comes together seamlessly: the hostess may want to provide plates for a spring theme, remind guests that when they bring a dish... ALWAYS bring a serving utensil.

- Recipes: I plan to try several, including these: rhubarb buttermilk bread, apple and fennel slaw (with buttermilk dressing), and the wild rice stuffed mushrooms.

- Flora and Crafts are included: teaching us how to make seed starters with newspaper and a juice glass.

- Host thoughtful gatherings

Rating: 5 stars
Source: NetGalley (personal copy when the book publishes)

Small Measure (Ashley English's blog)
Squam (ecourses +community)
12 steps to homesteading (article)
Author interview (before it's news)

A question from the q&a that sums it up nicely...

KA: One thing that’s always impressed is your seemingly effortless way of creating community within the walls of your home. I always leave with a full belly, a warm heart, and a new friend. What’s your secret?

AE: I really believe that spaces create certain experiences. If I wanted to be awed, I’d climb up to the top of a nearby mountain, or gaze at a sacred image. So too with desiring comfort. In my home, more than anything else, I want guests to feel welcome, and comfortable. I work to achieve that by, well, bringing the outdoors in, so to speak. Our walls are painted soothing earth tones, our furniture is all meant to be lounged on (and has the cat scratches and dog indentations to prove it!), there are wooden and metal and glass objects everywhere, and lots and lots of blankets. I can’t begin to tell you how many people have told us they completely lose all sense of time when they’re in our house, and, more recently, two friends said our home felt like a “big hug.” When you’re in an environment that feels inviting, you loosen up physically and, for some, mentally, too. Such a state is super conducive to making new friends and lingering over good food.