Chelsea and I decided to do something different for Easter. This year Chelsea’s birthday fell on the Monday after Easter so we thought it would be nice to have an Easter/birthday party. The challenge? To cook for and accommodate 14 people comfortably within the confines of our loft-style condominium. The result? Smooth sailing! In fact, I like to think it was a refreshing change of pace and a fun time for all.
Easter in my family has been one of those holidays where the family may meet at a restaurant for a hectic lunch or at one of the relative’s houses for a meal and some visiting. This year, I suggested an unconventional alternative to the norm. Chelsea and I, “the kids,” would do the cooking and all everyone else had to do was endure the one-hour drive, relax, and enjoy.
I was especially excited that my grandparents joined the festivities. They are not typically up for long drives or the hustle and bustle of the city. But they settled right in when they arrived and were as comfortable as peas in mid-century-modern pod chairs. At one point, my grandpa snuck off for a power nap only to return invigorated and ready for another round of festivities. My grandma, who can be a bit…hard to please…was all smiles. It was nice to be able to introduce the family to some friends, who got to hear the stories that my grandparents often share. Our friend Rebecca listened as my grandma sat next to her, recalling wartime stories and polishing an old photo of herself, my grandpa, and my infant father that I had reprinted years ago.
A nearly perfect spring day made for a sun-drenched loft and conversation on the balcony. My dad had a terrible accident earlier in the week, when a Skilsaw was dropped from up high onto the bridge of his nose, breaking it (the nose) and sending him to the hospital. By Easter his face was looking pretty beat up, so he wore his sunglasses periodically throughout the day. My grandma was wearing her sunglasses because the room was so bright, and my aunt decided to jump in the game and wear hers, too, so the three could pose for a funny photo.
While my dad may have looked pretty bashed in, his spirits were up as usual, and he had so much to be proud of as the majority of the craftsmanship and many of the creative elements in our loft are his doing. My youngest brother, Michael, who was also there, has helped me with projects around the house as well.
It wouldn’t be a party at Art and Chel’s without some pretty serious food. This year, the star of the show was a Benton’s 14-month-aged, dry-cured and unsmoked ham–or, in simpler terms, a country ham. Chelsea has fond memories of her grandma’s peach-glazed ham and wanted to recapture that memory with our ham. Success! Chelsea whipped up some flaky buttermilk biscuits that were embelished with some Tallahasse Tupelo honey from her brother Morgan, and we made some cheese grits and a couple of raw salads to counter the luxuriously rich and succulent ham.
In true Chelsea style, she put together her own birthday cake, an apricot one. Grandma also brought one of her rich, cherry-emblazoned cheesecakes. In all, the party was relaxing and a lot of fun. We hope that the Art and Chelsea loft experience made for good food, stimulating conversation, and pleasant surroundings. Thanks to everyone for being a part of our lives.
Easter in the Loft: 2009: The Movie at 8! Well, maybe not at 8 but definitely sometime this week. Meanwhile, all the Easter photos here.