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Party Planner: “Oh Baby Baby, Baby Baby” (Shower)

“Salt-n-Pepa’s here and we’re in effect/Want you to push it, babe”

Ok, I was going to let go of the Salt-n-Pepa thing, but how perfect is “Push It” for a post about a baby shower? I’m going to suggest that they play it in the delivery room… This may be why I’m neither a medical doctor nor have I played one on TV. Anyway, yes, our friends are having babies and we’re hosting the shower on Saturday night. I thought I’d review the ramp-up today and share any new recipes I deem blog-worthy next week.

At the behest of the sassy-britches mother-to-be, this is going to be a co-ed, evening shower with no silly games. Or, more accurately, a cocktail party with baby gifts. Having thrown both this kind and the more traditional girly brunch-type shower I find both have their merits, though the cocktail party does have some additional benefits.

First, it enfranchises the menfolk, which I think is a good thing. They’re going to be changing diapers, too, so having them at the shower is a nice way of easing them into the whole parenthood thing. Secondly, the shower is probably one of the last hurrahs of unencumbered adulthood… why blow it on brunch when you can have a cocktail party?

For this particular party, I’d originally planned out a Greek/Med menu–spanikopita triangles, baked feta, etc–but then I realized that I’d not only done that two weekends in a row, I’d done it for the guests of honor two weekends in a row. NEXT! Given that they’re both Asiaphiles of the first water, I moved further into the East for inspiration.

And, since it’s ridiculously hot right now, I wanted mostly cool (if still spicy) things. Mid-July is NOT the time to be deep frying nibbles for 20 people. And thus, my notional menu follows. (Note to guests, I reserve the right to change things around or punt on things…)

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Menu Monday: A Few Hours in Provence, Salad & Socca

Welcome to Menu Monday! Woo! I’ve always wanted this site to be not just about individual kick-ass recipes, but also about how to put them together into a coherent whole that can be enjoyed by cook and guest alike. And now, a year and a half and nearly 250 posts later, there’s enough of those kick-ass recipes up for me to be able to knit them together into menus for you. I’ll also be hitting up some of my favorite bloggers to round out these posts to give you a taste of what other people are writing about and to help me fill in some gaps in my own archives.
And this week, it made sense to head down to Provence. The cuisine of Nice and the surrounding region has always been one of my favorites, with its reliance on olive oil, fresh seafood, and simple vegetable preparations amped up with powerful flavors like anchovy, garlic, and saffron.

My affinity for the cuisine was cemented during a VERY entertaining week and half spent trailing around Aix-en-Provence with the inimitable Grandma Neecie and her favorite opera tour group: listening to Verdi’s Requiem at the Roman amphitheatre in Orange, lunching on mysterious terrines and champagne cocktails at Michelin-starred restaurants nestled high in the Luberon valley, tackling boulliabaise on the corniche in Marseilles, and otherwise having a grand old time.

In ANY event, though, we can tackle terrines and boulliabaise some other day (I’ve drunk all the Pernod, anyway). For the inaugural Menu Monday, we keep it simple, no? Some really tasty, unique nibbles; a fabulous entree salad; and a simple, fresh dessert. Let’s get to it!

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