Simple Celebrations

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We celebrated our second wedding anniversary June 3. Like last year, we planned a picnic for two at a nearby state park to mark the occasion. This year we had to postpone due to the weather, but it didn’t matter. We had a nice dinner, starting with a salad using our very own greens from our back porch container garden. We sat at an overlook and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the outdoors.

There was a time when I was younger that I thought a “real” celebration had to mean going to a fancy restaurant or traveling somewhere, but now Jim and I are happy with a simple evening outdoors, eating home-cooked food.

Growing up, all of our family celebrations centered around home cooking, with the emphasis on good company and good eats, not fancy surroundings and being waited on. We celebrated my mom’s birthday last Sunday. The menu couldn’t have been simpler. Each family invited brought their own burgers to throw on the grill. We had homemade hamburger buns and homemade mustard. We also had homemade pickles, homemade zucchini relish and homemade chili sauce, all canned up last year with our garden vegetables. We had a cabbage salad with fresh cabbage from the garden and deviled eggs from a neighbor’s chicken.

For dessert we had rhubarb pie with rhubarb from the backyard and apple pie with canned apples from last fall. I don’t believe you could find a more delicious feast at the fanciest restaurant in Paris!

Offering guests homemade food, especially when you are using home-grown produce, is the greatest gift a hostess can give. It’s opening your heart and home to your friends and family in a special way. I encourage you to start small: try to bake your next birthday cake. Even if it doesn’t look like the ones at the grocery store bakery, that’s OK! Let me know how it goes.