Folks, I have one more cookbook giveaway for you to wrap up my Bite this Book series in 2014. It couldn’t come at a better time, as we are preparing for the holiday season and some of you might be quaking at the thought of hosting.
Canadian food writers and my friends Jan Scott & Julie Van Rosendaal have joined forces to bring us guide to making casual entertaining simple and accessible. Gatherings: Bringing People Together With Food is a beautiful cookbook full of helpful tips for real get-together from cocktail parties to potlucks, equipping you to go fourth and entertain with confidence.
I can’t wait to put Gatherings to good use over the holiday season. I’ll be hosting a handful of events and will be counting on this beautiful book to help me survive and thrive. Bookmarked already are the chapters: Weekend Brunch, Snow Day, Holiday Open House and Cocktail Party.
Read on for an exclusive interview with both Julie and Jan, plus a chance to win a copy of Gatherings: Bringing People Together With Food!
Q & A with Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal
When did you first notice you had a knack for bringing people together over food?
Jan ~ I had forgotten about it, but recently some University friends reminded me about a Thanksgiving dinner I organized while we were all living together outside of the dorms. I made the main components of the meal (turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy) and asked everyone else to contribute a side, dessert, or beverage. It was a terrible tasting feast, but when we all think back to those school years we remember it so clearly, and I think that’s when I discovered that one of my biggest joys in life is gathering people around my table, filling their bellies with food and their minds with memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Julie ~ My mom likes to tell the story of when I was 3 and asked her when I could cook by myself… she said when you can read a recipe by yourself, you can cook by yourself. Cooking has always been my thing.. ever since I had to push a chair up to the counter to reach it. I loved how it made people happy, how people gathered together around it, how it was a source of comfort and nostalgia. It’s such a big part of our every day culture.
Who is ‘Gatherings’ written for and what will this book help them accomplish?
Jan ~ I think the book is written for everyone who loves to eat with others. It’s intended to be a guide for the inexperienced host, and possibly a reminder to those who gather with others regularly that less is more, and everything doesn’t have to be precious and perfect for the meal or event to be a success. It saddens me to think that people are intimidated by the thought of feeding a group, and my hope is that the book will take some of the pressure off and provide those folks with ideas for making it fun and doable.
Julie ~ Gatherings is written for everyone – except I suppose those who prefer to dine solo. Most of us tend to like eating with other people though – it’s such a social thing, whether it’s a regular dinner on a Tuesday night or a big celebration. Food is a part of so many life events, big and small, and it’s a shame so many of us are intimidated by the thought of feeding others. We want to take the pressure off, and make people comfortable with the idea of gathering around their own tables.
What sort of gatherings are planned in your home this holiday season?
Jan ~ We are keeping our gatherings small and low-key this holiday season. I’m nearly eight months pregnant and have decided that the people I want to gather with the most are the ones who live in my own home. So, aside from the big Christmas dinner (for 20 people) that I cook every year, I’m planning nothing but a fondue feast with my kids and their friends, a board game night with lots of finger foods, and a few at-home date nights with my favourite person.
Julie ~ We’re just finishing a kitchen reno, so we won’t have quite as many gatherings at our house as usual, but we will have our annual Polyester & Cheese party – everyone brings something cheesy, and wearing polyester is optional, but fun. It’s sort of a potluck-slash-cocktail party, and everyone loves it. Who doesn’t adore cheese? And then of course we have the requisite turkey dinners – one at my mom’s, one at our house, and one at my husband’s cousin’s place. Never too many turkey dinners, friends and relatives this holiday season!
Ta-Da! I have a copy of Gatherings to give away to one lucky North American reader. ** This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Sharon Holbrook, our winner! Sharon look for an email coming your way soon.**
To enter: tell me in the comments below about an upcoming gathering you’ll be hosting (or attending) this holiday season! Remember: If you are reading this post via email, please note that you must enter on the blog post, NOT by replying to the email.
Giveaway ends Sunday, December 21 at 7AM EST. Good luck to all.