Every December for the past 9 or 10 years, Mrs. G-LO and I have been invited to our friends Patty and Rob’s home for Crafty Day. Crafty Day, which is always one of the highlights of the holiday season, is an afternoon of eating, drinking, and spending time with some of our oldest and dearest friends. Here’s the schedule of activities:
- An appetizer buffet for lunch which is served with the official Crafty Day Cocktail.
- While drinking cocktails, the ladies will work on the annual craft that they will then distribute to friends, teachers, co-workers, etc. as Christmas gifts.
- The men will move to the bar and sample various whiskies.
- Regroup in the dining room after 6PM to have Chinese food for dinner.
Since Patty and Rob are kind enough to let us use their house for the day’s events, I figure the least I can do is bring lunch. Pulling together an appetizer buffet is one of my favorite activities. I get to visit my favorite food stores (Reading Terminal Market, The Italian Market, Croce’s in Cherry Hill) and buy whatever looks good. It’s one of the few times when I ignore prices and just buy what I want. The appetizer selections vary slightly from year to year, but there are several items that are always on the menu. Prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, soppressata, aged provolone, English cheddar, blue cheese, fig jam, marinated mushrooms, olives, and crusty Italian bread are the constant fixtures. This year, I also added homemade stromboli made with pepperoni and sharp provolone, sauteed broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, and a tomato salad which consisted of plum and grape tomatoes, diced red onion, kalamata and nicoise olives, Bulgarian feta, Italian parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Patty’s sister Sue is responsible for the official Crafty Day Cocktail. This year’s cocktail was a Winter Sangria. Although I am not exactly sure of the ingredients, I know that it contained dry white wine, brandy, lemon-lime soda, Granny Smith apple, pomegranate seeds, lemon, lime, and pear. It was crisp, clean, refreshing, and provided a good balance against the rich and very filling appetizers.
When the ladies start crafting, the men start drinking! Since Rob frequently flies to London for work, he has multiple opportunities throughout the year to acquire a new Single Malt Scotch that is not usually available in the United States. This years Single Malt selections included the following: Aberfeldy 12, Ardmore Traditional Cask, The Balvenie SherryOak 17, Cardhu 12, Glengoyne 21, Lagavulin 1989 Distiller’s Edition, and The Macallan Fine Oak 15. While they are all excellent whiskies, I would say that The Balvenie, Glengoyne, and Lagavulin were my favorites of the seven whiskies that I sampled. My least favorite was the Ardmore which was a bit rougher than the others and had an alcohol sting that the others didn’t possess.
After an afternoon of eating and drinking, you would think that more food would be the last thing on our minds, but since we can be a rather gluttonous group when the mood strikes us, you would be wrong! Work, kids, family obligations, and geography limit the number of times that we can get together throughout the year, so we always tend to go a bit overboard on the few occasions when we’re in the same place at the same time. While the Chinese food probably isn’t necessary after an afternoon of eating and drinking, it give us an opportunity to regroup and have a few more laughs before we all head back home. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Crafty Day!
One last thing…
I talked about the food and drinks, but I never discussed the craft! This year, the ladies decided to make Ting-A-Lings, which are essentially corn flake clusters dipped in chocolate. Crunchy, chocolatey, and a perfect snack to wash down with a fine glass of whisky!
Categories: Booze Banter