On Wednesday night we threw a party that combined my love of food and food history with my husband’s love of music and singing. We invited a group of my fellow food blogger friends and the members of the Sounds of Concord Barbershop Chorus (where Mark sings Bass) to an Evening of American Food and Song.
The foodies selected and prepared dishes that reflected their vision of the American spirit and the Barbershop guys sang their hearts out for us including a rousing version of the Star Spangled Banner . Despite the showers we gathered in the house for cocktails and dinner but when the rain let up the boys filed out to the patio to fill the summer night with their harmonies.
It was a magical evening of friendship, fun, and fantastic food. I will try to give you a flavor of some of the festivities and dishes but honestly I was having too good a time schmoozing and listening to the music to snap a ton of pictures. I think we may just have to make this an annual event!
Some of the dishes we made and our clever and talented friends brought included:
Ham Fancies, Homemade Pimento Cheese, Daisy Sandwiches, Picnic Pickles
I adapted these appetizers from the 1917 American cookbook, “1000 Ways to Please A Husband” Mark was not convinced that cutting pimento sandwiches into cute little shapes is the way to a man’s heart but he did enjoy the homemade picnic pickles
Red, White, & Blue Grass-Fed Beef Sliders
Jon Ross-Wiley from www.localinseason.com grilled up baby burgers topped with blue cheese and tomatoes that were delicious and fit the theme perfectly. He shared with me that our friends at CityFeed in JP donated ingredients when they heard about our party. Thanks guys!!
Anita Freed made as American a dish as you can get featuring foods that reminded her of pre-Colonial Thanksgiving feasts. In more modern times, ingredients arrive in a CSA box. You can get the recipe for this tasty dish and other local food recipes from her blog, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Swiss Chard
Wild Rice Salad
Lara Zelman, a.k.a Good Cook Doris also brought us a dish filled with native foods and Colonial transplants from the earliest days of our nation. Wild rice and cranberries already grew here and parsley and celery (often Lovage or cutting celery) were frequently grown in Colonial gardens. This dish was delightfully cool and light; perfect for a hot summer night.
Sue McCrory who brings us many delicious stories and events in the Public Radio Kitchen brought her family’s favorite baked beans. “Pat Riley’s (Vegetarian) Baked Beans” were so rich and full of baked in sweetness that I just wanted to heap them on a plate with a chunk of cornbread and eat huddled in a corner, growling like a hound if anyone came near. Luckily, she made a huge pot so there was plenty to share.
Another hearty dish was brought by Mike and Laura Angotti. I am not typically a huge chili fan, but this cowboy style recipe full of meat and beans in a thick flavorful sauce won me over. They also supplied blue corn chips and shredded cheese to finish it off right.
Corn and blueberries, as native American foods, played a big part in the menu and were featured in a corn casserole from Brian (a Barbershopper), a blueberry/strawberry cornbread, and some petite blueberry muffins bursting with berries made by Margie Gordon Hurwitz. The muffins came nestled in linens in a vintage basket with a little tag that read “House of Hurwitz”.
Blueberries were also used in a drink we called a Yankee Doodle, which contained gin, homemade blueberry syrup, tonic water, and a squeeze of lime. There were homemade maraschino cherries and blueberries to add that packed a punch! The other drink pictured was a moscato based sangria with summer fruits. Of course we also enjoyed a selection of good old American beers.
Alan Bone, another of the Barbershop singers, brought a Southern Macaroni Pie and brought home an empty dish-yum!
AND THEN CAME THE DESSERTS
Mark insisted that an Americana party had to have a watermelon basket and so he carved up this number just shortly before the party began. It was filled with melon and berries and went well with the fresh cherries one of the guests brought.
There was also more fruit for dessert in the luscious blueberry cobbler made by Laura and Rob Ciampa who mostly blog about great restaurants and travel in New England but clearly some terrific things come out their own kitchen! There was a blueberry pie from the charming Noj and Lily Zachariah as well of some fine singing from Noj.
And I made some fruit tarts if only to justify owning 19 tart pans. Blueberry with cornmeal crust, sour cherry with almond crust, and peach spice with shortbread crust.
And throughout the evening lots of singing and chatting and smiles:
Sounds of Concord is always looking for men who like to sing to join them. Check the website for details and rehersal times.