I don’t regard myself as an entertainer. I lack the skill or the energy to plan parties with thematic decor, parchment wrapped mini sandwiches, and coordinating signs on chalk boards. In fact, I get very overwhelmed when I see blog posts or magazine articles telling me how easy it is to create the perfect summer gathering. I’m drawn to them. Oh, I am. They entice me with pictures of outdoor rugs, strings of lanterns and pretty jugs of water with various vegetables or fruit in them. I have party envy for those who seem to effortlessly create these picture perfect experiences.
But I don’t want that necessarily. I want people. Skip the details and give me people – lots of people. People from different places in my life who can intersect and meet each other. People who are not like me, who have different jobs, interesting hobbies. People who will allow me the honor of hosting them and graciously accept our invitation to come and be home. I don’t entertain – I gather. I bring together my life of people and fill my home with their voices, their laughter, their families. Friends are fed and children are adored while having backyard adventures and making messes that sometimes leave behind a memory of them in a stain on the rug or a fingerprint on the wall. I love that.
A house turns into a home when you USE it. Fill it to the brim, put the kitchen on overdrive, drag out the extra chairs, bang on the piano, play in the yard, toast to good friends and turn up the music.
After a big gathering, I love to wake up early and sneak downstairs to an empty house. I sit in the dining room, pairing my coffee with left over dessert, and think of how just hours ago the place was plastered with cups, dishes and remnants of the dinner that fed our friends. There’s an energy in the room, and I swear that I hear sounds ringing because that’s what happens when a house turns into a home. Voices stick to the wall, laughter floats into the ceiling and friends are no longer guests, they are family.
Back to the pie…
Full sized pies are of course, a staple of the summer months. But they can also be tricky because the hot, humid summer air is not a friend to pie crust. My favorite thing to do in the summer is to make pie in a jar. Not only are they more manageable for cookouts or picnics, but people love eating pie out of a jar. Seriously – who wouldn’t? I’ve posted a strawberry rhubarb pie-in-a-jar recipe in the past and this weekend I did a peach sour cherry version which was a big hit. The beautiful thing about this is that you can do any filling. They all pretty much follow the same basic steps so click through to the recipe to see some additional pictures. Cherry and blueberry ones would be so fun for the Fourth of July! Check out this recipe for peach sour cherry – if you want to make a whole pie, then just follow the filling recipe without precooking it.