It’s officially the beginning of the holiday season. Sometimes I feel like the school year barely gets started and all of a sudden, it’s the Jewish New Year, Thanksgiving, Halloween and then, in the blink of an eye, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve have come around again! Luckily for me, I not only love hosting for the holidays, but I truly think I have a knack for it. I love having my kids help set the table (they folded flower napkins from @maisontess, I love thinking up a menu that will get everyone excited, and I love any excuse to take out my wedding set from @maisonlipari.
I know there are some people who have amazing cooking skills and others who have a fabulous eye for décor, but hosting isn’t just about that (although, all that helps). For me, a great hostess is relaxed, anticipates the needs of her guests and takes a moment to enjoy the celebration as much as everyone else at the party. Maybe I’ve taken a page out of my family playbook, because I always make sure to have a good time when I’m hosting. Growing up, we were always surrounded by friends and family. Our house was a revolving door and my father hosted with such ease. It was a beautiful sight and just thinking back really puts everything in perspective. There was no pressure to make everything perfect, because perfection doesn’t make people happy. Ambience, easygoing and welcoming… that’s a good time.
I am sort of a health food nut, but I also love big flavours. Obviously, the holidays are a time where abundance knows no measure, but that doesn’t mean we need to stuff our faces on unhealthy foods. Instead, what it means is that we can sample lots of everything and hopefully have leftovers that will keep me from cooking for the following few days! I prepared a variety of salads, because of all the fun you can have introducing texture and flavour.
I love playing with colour, too. Unlike meat, which is basically grey, vegetables make your table look like an edible rainbow. I love the farm-to-table look of colourful carrots and pomegranate-sprinkled roasted eggplant. There is so much that can be done, and if it’s done well, your guests will have full bellies without the food hangover.
Holidays are also a nostalgic time for most of us. We want to carry on traditions and make foods that remind us of our families. I love including all the classics, but then kind of finding my own way to revamp them. I always have to keep in mind that my demographic ranges from 60+ to my youngest who is still a toddler. I want to make sure there is something for everyone, so I always serve food that is appealing to everyone (I hope!).
Dessert deserves its own shout out. In my home, we serve up a delicious and traditional Moroccan tea with a variety of cookies and other goodies. Regardless of the holiday, I think we can agree that most celebrations toast to a happy and sweet tomorrow. What better way to do so than yummy @doughnatsmtl !?
Finally, the guests, the table settings, the flowers and the outfit. It’s all about flow and making sure the flowers ( @aura_design) aren’t obstructing conversation and that the people invited all feel at home so that the evening (or brunch) goes smoothly. The less you have to do in terms of getting people talking, the better. I love background music, because I just love music all the time! I also love setting the mood with lighting, and setting the tone with an outfit that matches the level of sophistication I want to elicit from the evening. I’m making it sound more curated than it is, because for those who know me, I’d say my hosting style is fairly laid back and organic. The reason: because I love bringing people together and creating memories!
PS. I’ve been working on putting some of my family’s favourite recipes together and I’ll post them here soon! Stay tuned :-)
Photography by Patricia Brochu