The first time I realized how much had changed from the days of table linens, bone china, silver flatware, and crystal candlesticks was after my husband and I registered for wedding gifts. I received a well-meaning phone call from my mother noting our registry’s lack of the aforementioned items. When I explained that this was intentional, she was mildly appalled. In my mind, why store an entire set of place settings that only come out two or three times a year?
Alas, the shift in china and flatware are symptoms of a larger swing. Entertaining no longer needs to be a formal sit-down production. There is nothing that makes guests feel less at ease than formality.
Almost Properly is venture in embracing the not-quite proper – hosting without linens, crystal, and long stem wine glass. It’s about the kind of gatherings that would make my grandmother raise an eyebrow. Get-togethers should be interactive, laid back, self-serve, and casual! My favorites usually end with barefooted guests laughing late into the night around a bon fire.
For me it’s about more than this. Almost Properly is an expression of my effort to embrace community even when my house isn’t perfectly clean and there are dishes in the sink. It’s a spontaneous Tuesday night dinner with neighbors or tea with a friend going through a hard time. Open home, open heart. If that’s not already a saying, it should be.
Many of the recipes you will find here are crowd friendly and crowd friendly within the confines of a normal, non-commercial sized kitchen. Because, there is nothing like cooking for a big group to make you unexpectedly aware of your sudden lack of counter, oven, or storage space.
Life and food are both meant to be shared. My goal for Almost Properly is to equip others with recipes, tips, and tricks to love your people well – even when it’s not fancy.