Elise Bauer makes her famous cranberry-orange relish at the event.
During the year you make dinner parties or bring what the host asks you to make. You shop at the farmers' market differently for these special nights. You pull out your favorite cookbooks and try a new recipe or finesse a favorite from the tried-and-true box. You proudly unfurl your food and wait nervously for people to dig in, hoping beyond hope that what you've made will pass muster and maybe at the end of the night someone asks you for your recipe. You go home feeling warm and full in ways you generally don't after dinner at home.
One day you realize you sorely miss a particular holiday dinner you went to year after year. It was German affair complete with goose, red cabbage with chestnuts, a most exquisitely rich pan gravy, lebkuchen and bite-sized marzipan shapes from Berlin. The person who you went with has died, and now every year, at the same time, you miss that goose. Even though you didn't grow up with anyone who ever cooked a goose.
Cookiecrumb and Cranky's bright and tangy sauerkraut crockpot.
Prepping the innards for gravy. (The goose is dense and rich and the gravy begs to be drunk from a glass!)
You have a food blog, or you date someone who has one. You used to cook professionally, or are going to culinary school, or are a professional food writer, or you live in a house the size of a private airplane hanger because you're the most amazing photographer, or you're a meat cooking expert or you have a wine cellar or you're not working right now. You organize a goose making dinner because you realize, in order to satiate this goose-eating-taste-bud appendage you've acquired and now must acknowledge, albeit late in life, you must learn how to cook said animal yourself.
Jessica Wilson taking the temperature of the geese.
You start talking about the possibility of a German Holiday Feast near actual holidays to your food blogging friends. You plant the seed.
A brilliant idea comes to you one night late. February! It's the perfect time for such a dinner. Although you won't get your geese warm from a fresh slaughter as you might near Christmas, you're told all your Bay Area options for goose buying. You're not working much or you're in need of organizing a grand food event. You've recently been to a number of massive community food gathering undertakings for which you only showed up as a guest and now it's your time to kick it into gear. You go to you local meat expert, fellow blogger, someone you refer to sweetly as your personal Meat Angel. You know he's the person to make your first goose with.
You channel the most organized, bossy side of you. You want to eat what you want. You make a list, asking for people to choose from a list and "call" a dish. It reads: "spaetzle, red cabbage with chestnuts, a green salad (for me what constitutes a salad, in, Feb. is head lettuce, cucumbers and radishes), baked potatoes, something sauerkrauty, steamed broccoli or greens or squash something, raw celery root something, something leeky, cranberry sauce/chutney something, chocolate, marzipan tinted dessert and Marc, can you make that Orange Cake?"
Paul Hendry carving with Guy's lucky carving knife.
At the last minute you have to change locations. People you've never met offer their industrial palatial estate. In between dinner and dessert one of the hosts, a distinguished professional photographer, takes portaits of all the guests! The kitchen crew of three gets shot jumping in the air. (All photos from the session will be made public shortly; link will be posted on Eggbeater.)
Molten hazelnut-cocoa nib brittle garnish for pot de creme made on site by Shuna and David Byron.
Marc's orange cakes & caramel sauce plated with David & Shuna's gianduja pot de creme.
"The Kitchen Crew" Jessica Wilson, David Byron, and Shuna Lydon (not pictured) at the head of the table happily eating dessert.