In my dream you were there and you’d always been there. We’d known each other for a very long time, but I couldn’t recognize your face. You looked like me, beneath a wide brim hat in a cocoon. You looked like a man I once loved in ink and leather. You had so many faces and long curls and were so kind. And you were all my family in a different life. So I made you biscuits when the sky was clear, and when it was dark, again. My sisters were there (you don’t have any sisters), and the air was blue and green too. A trike sat out front. And so many pine cones. Pinecones like I’d used to try to sell the neighbors when I was a kid in the suburbs. In Fairfield. In North Georgia. Our house was stucco. I wasn’t supposed to touch the peachy pink walls, and I’d slide down the stairs in a sleeping bag. I can’t remember if anyone ever bought any pine cones. Maybe they did, to be kind. I was wearing a parka and kept my head down. Eyes on the oven, eyes behind the lens. Doing the things I like to do. I like to hide behind the things I do. I like it very much. I don’t know how to be a guest. But you were my guests, and you were there and you’d always been there. We’d not known each other for a very long time, but I recognized your face.
Because, because at this past December’s Kinfolk Workshop, I found people that became old friends the moment we met. And it wasn’t even really supposed to happen. I might not have sisters but I have sisters, and we had all set out to have a Christmas party. We were going to dye napkins in indigo to ostensibly give as Christmas presents. Or, you know, just keep. But things didn’t go like that. What was originally going to be a quiet get together of six girls quickly bloomed into a more the merrier full on fete & Kinfolk workshop. I hardly know how it happened, but I’m so glad it did. We mashed up our original indigo dye party with found & foraged wreath making and ended up having what was one of our best workshops of the year.
And we all walked away with much more than handmade gifts to give & natural decor. It was a true collaboration in every sense of the word—Rebekka of Camellia Fiber Co. manned the dye vats & taught everyone the art of natural indigo shibori dying (by the end clothing was coming off in a dye all the things indigo frenzy); Courtney created cocktails from the syrups she carries in her shop Hey Rooster General Store; Emily (the talented wood worker behind Board & Bread) gathered greenery, made garlands late into the night before while I baked, and taught everyone how to make free form wreaths (everyone except me—I just ninja’ed one of her pretty creations at the end); Ruthie Lindsey made the space beautiful, minded the gifts (replete with wildcrafted scents & soaps from Juniper Ridge) and details, & graciously hosted the get-together at her brand new cottage (which she virtually renovated in a week’s time—seriously that woman took the house from cottage cheese ceiling & formica to bead board & butcher block in the time it takes for the rest of us to yawn and brush our teeth); and Hannah of Nothing but Delicious and I did what we do best together: put out biscuits and pimento cheese and truffled deviled eggs and such fixins. She is my kitchen soul mate. And a life saver.
But the people who put it on are only half the making of a wonderful time. The whole point of these workshops and gatherings is relationships. Hanging out. Creating together. And our guests were really what made that day so special for me, and I’m so happy to have gotten the chance to connect with so many of them. The workshops are just as much about getting together and doing a thing, anything, as they are about learning a skill set. Really they’re just an excuse to play. Nothing more complicated. Maybe next time we can all just go try to sell pine cones to the neighbors? My pitch was always that they would make excellent salt & pepper shakers (they don’t.). Over the course of that day I met Lisa, the multi-talented artist of Soñadora & front lady of Copperfox of & now dear friend, & her mate Rory, two deeply kindred spirits that I hope to have in my home & life often over the years. I also got to finally meet James, the dapper designer (alliteration!) behind Handy Dandy Productions, whom I’d heard so much about. And the hilarious & tender hearted (yep.) Dan Rouse, the man behind the handsomely curated shop Wheat & Co (Chippewa boot heaven, a one stop for all your man gift needs, and all the ladies stuff is 50% off right now!) And the effervescent and too kind Tiffany, the illustrator & photographer behind the blog Offbeat + Inspired (her work is rad…seriously talented.) And, and, and. So you see. I left with much more than a pilfered wreath that day.
Without further ado, I leave you with one of the recipes of the day, a simple mushroom tartine of bourbon sautéed cremini, sweet & sour parsley, and local herbed goat cheese on toasted baguettes from the bakery down apiece. I’d give you my pimento cheese recipe. But then I’d have to kill you. (Just kidding it…I’m saving it for something special!)
Parsley, Goat Cheese, and Mushroom Tartines
- 1 baguette, sliced and lightly toasted
- 3 oz of herbed goat cheese, local if you can find it
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 20-30 cremini mushrooms, wiped off, stemmed, and sliced
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 1/4 of a lemon's worth of juice or to taste
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1/2 Tablespoon of honey
- 2 cups flat leave parsley leaves
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- In a skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic with a pinch of salt and sweat until fragrant and translucent.
- Add the mushrooms along with another couple of pinches of salt and turn heat up to med-high. Sautee until they release they're liquid and start to brown, about 5 minutes. Carefully add in bourbon and cook off, about 3 minutes. Add in lemon juice and honey. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Remove mushrooms to a medium bowl and stir in the goat cheese to coat the mushrooms thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl whisk the sugar into the white wine vinegar with a small pinch of salt. Toss with the parsley leaves, adjusting seasoning to your taste. It should be a little sweet and sour.
- Arrange mushrooms on toasted baguette slices, top with parsley, and serve.