It had been two years since Robyn and Scarlett had gotten together again. Robyn expressed an interest in coming back to the “Bourbon Capital of the World” – Bardstown, Kentucky over the Christmas holidays. Scarlett was all for it. They could collaborate some more on their book about the Thoroughbroads and she could have a holiday gathering in her honor after New Year’s when her friends in town wanted to enjoy some girl time after the holidays. It was set. Scarlett would invite 14 girls who did not know each other in the hopes that 8 would show up. Well, all 14 accepted! She was stunned and tried figuring out how she was going to fit 14 in her downsized house. Fortunately, 11 actually showed up which made for the perfect number she could seat in the living room.
Everyone was asked to bring an ugly holiday ornament, a pair of ugly socks or ugly holiday decor wrapped so they could play Dirty Santa after dinner. All obliged and Phyllis brought a special gift to help with the festivities…an ugly 4 foot tall pink flamingo standing on one leg wearing a Santa hat. We would have won America’s Funniest Videos $10,000 award if Scarlett had filmed 4 of the early guests trying to put this bird together using only a pair of scissors! After many cuss words, they completed the project and it stood as the holiday tree for the party. It will now become a tradition to use the flamingo for every Dirty Santa party in the future no matter who hosts.
Dinner consisted of a sliced Smithfield ham that was glazed with pineapple juice and brown sugar, a sour cream hash brown casserole that M.Sue is known for and was always a hit, a wild greens, cranberry and sliced red grape salad with balsamic vinaigrette, Sister Shubert’s rolls for making a sandwich, if you so desired, with condiments like Duke’s mayo, dark brown mustard or Miracle Whip salad dressing along with a relish tray of pickled okra, pickled green cherry tomatoes, various cheeses with basil wheat thin crackers and a bacon-onion cream cheese ball that Charlie had made finalized the meal. It was accompanied by a Rose Moscato wine, lime and ginger ale punch or a sweet tea and Bourbon slushie.
As the girls gathered in the living room to eat, Scarlett introduced each gal pal and asked them to tell a little about themselves so the fact that no one really knew each other would set a level of comfort. It was the ice breaker that the party would need and the adult beverages helped to encourage some to tell something funny about themselves as they went around the room. Dinner was through, so the wrapped gifts were placed on the coffee table and the sweets many had brought were put out to enjoy. Robyn had made a bunch of gold dusted chocolate truffles (of which one gal took 8 home with her when she left)…thank God they had not all been put out or there would not have been any leftover for the 4 day visit! Corn bread, cream cheese, white chocolate cookies that Charlie had made were a hit, the almond cookies Scarlett bought from David at the local institution – Olde Delaney’s Grocery were also popular and the eclairs from Hadorn’s Bakery along with the lemon mini cupcakes were gobbled up as the girls, one by one, picked a gift to open.
The winner of the worst gift brought went to Gloriela, who had never played Dirty Santa before…it was unanimous the molting feather rooster ornament was number one. The middle finger ugly socks came in second and M. Sue declared the U of L Cardinal headband with the reindeer ears as third. Being a UK grad and dedicated member of the Big Blue Nation, she placed the headband on her head and proclaimed it was the ugliest thing she had ever seen. Smart phones started snapping her picture as we laughed at her prancing around like Rudolph. The punches had kicked in making the party a rousing success.
Hugs at the door as the girls left assured all had made new friends and Robyn was encouraged to come back to B’town anytime. Scarlett went to the kitchen to clean up only to find that 3 of the girls had put everything up, cleaned the kitchen and filled the dishwasher…all she had to do was drop a soap pod in the dishwasher and turn it on. These girls would be invited back for sure and a follow-up thank you card would be in the mail the next day! Technology and friends have changed haven’t they? In the past it would have taken hours to clean up, most dishes would have had to be washed by hand since you would have used your best crystal, your best gold rimmed china and your covered bowls to store the leftovers. And, the hostess would have done this herself never letting a guest help her in anyway.
Robyn and Scarlett reminisced at how in the ’80’s in Louisville the Thoroughbroads had parties using Martha Stewart’s books on entertaining as their bibles. It was so much more formal back then. We were in our late 30’s and early 40’s and holding dinner parties for our husband’s corporate clients, we participated in gourmet dinner groups monthly, we tried out her recipes in our monthly luncheons and we dressed classic for the occasions. Here, we had a party where the gals came in long tunic tops with leggings, many slipped their shoes off and walked around barefoot after the hostess came to the door without her shoes on, we sat with plates in our laps and if you got up to go get something else to eat or drink you helped yourself. Boy, have times changed and we think for the better as we drank more slushies, laughed about the evening and talked until 3am.
Rose Moscato Punch
2 bottle of Rose Moscato wine
1 can can of frozen lemonade
1 can ginger ale
1 fresh squeezed lime and use a potato peeler to make small slivers of the peel to use for color in the punch bowl in an ice ring.
4 cups of sweetened tea
12 ounce can frozen orange juice
24 ounce can frozen lemonade
3 cups quality Bourbon
In large bowl with lid combine all ingredients and place mixture in freezer at least 10 hours. Then scoop out mixture with ice cream scoop into wine glasses you can garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or thyme and ENJOY!
M. Sue’s Hashbrown Casserole
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers or plain corn flakes
1 (2lb) bag of frozen hash browns
1 tsp fresh ground pepper and 1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter melted
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
1 (16 ounce) cup of sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 and in large bowl combine all ingredients except cracker or corn flake topping. Place in 1×13 casserole dish and add the cracker or corn flakes crushed to the top and bake 40 minutes until bubbly