Saturday, March 10, 2012

Progressive Dinner

About 10 years ago our neighborhood changed.  No, we did not experience some flight to the suburbs as we already live in a near-in suburb, and it was not racially motivated as we are already one of the most diverse communities you can imagine (see posting on where to buy a goat to cook for dinner).  We experienced the downsizing and dying off of the original owners of the homes in the neighborhood.

For the first 20 years we lived here we were the "new" people.  Most people in the neighborhood were much older than us and their kids had long since left home.  We were raising babies and toddlers amongst the grandparents.  Then these older folks started selling their homes, or dying and having their kids sell their homes and we had an influx of young families.  By now, we were the old people as our kids were high school and college aged.  It was coming full circle.  With these new families came an energy that had never been present in the neighborhood before.   We now have an annual Easter egg hunt, a Halloween parade - complete with firetruck leading the way - and the progressive dinner (adults only).

For the progressive dinner we all gather a one home for appetizers and drinks.  It's quite a crush as we've had as many as 80 people participate.  Then we split into pre-assigned groups of 8-10 and move to separate homes for the main course, gathering later at a single home for desserts.  Everyone brings wine, beer, appetizers, desserts according to plan and we have a wonderful event.  One year I was the appetizer house, other years I've  done a main course, some years I just been a guest.  This year I volunteered for a main course and since it is going to be on St Patrick's Day I'm doing an Irish theme. 

I did a big St. P's party a few years ago so I have my menu all planned and know that it is easy to
do ahead.  We'll have corned beef (make ahead and slice when cold, heat in juices in oven until warm), colcannon (a mashed potato and cabbage or kale mix that can be made ahead and heated in oven) and roasted carrots (another oven dish).  I'll make some soda bread and buy some good rye bread and we'll be all set.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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