A September Letter from the Editor: The Refreshment of Teeny-Tiny Entertaining
Hello, and happy Sunday. If you could see inside my house right now you’d probably see my family flopped down in happy tiredness after the joyful festivities of my sister’s wedding on Friday night. Gathering with other people has an extra thrill these days, after a year and a half of social distancing, but it’s still fraught with the realities of the Delta wave of Covid. Gathering is tiring, too — I feel like my social mechanisms are all a little extra rusty. And yet gathering with other people over food — social hesitancy, exhaustion, and prudent health caution notwithstanding — is just one of the most necessary and refreshing things in my life right now.
I had breakfast with a long-missed college friend on a Saturday morning recently and came away feeling like a new person: It was so good to connect and catch up over pancake balls and eggs-in-a-basket. My husband and I just finished a new patio which we’ve put to use already having weekend brunches with small groups of friends, safely outdoors in the sticky late-summer heat. (Last weekend I nailed a new recipe for a creamy egg bake that I think will be my new brunch standard.) Another refreshing social occasion has been my cookbook club, which has returned to meeting in person, now that the whole crew is vaccinated. Our last book was the amazing Mr. Jiu’s in Chinatown and our next is my current personal favorite, Gregory Gourdet’s Everyone’s Table.
All of these moments of connection over food have been relatively small, simple to host, and utterly worth it. Aside from the moments of connection, they also get me out of my cooking rut, trying new things and rediscovering the joy of cooking really good food for people to enjoy.
This month at Kitchn, we’re centered on this type of gathering, which we’ve dubbed teeny-tiny entertaining. September is often a time when connections and reconnections feel extra-important. My kids are in school for the first time and I (gulp) have to meet other parents, think about outdoor play dates, and more. My husband has new colleagues we’d love to host for dinner. There are some important family birthdays coming up. We’re balancing the evolving public health realities and the very real human need for connection and social time — and good food gives reason to gather, soothes social awkwardness, and makes everything feel a little better.
If you too find yourself in a place where some connection with other vaccinated humans is exactly what you crave, this month is for you. We’re going to be bringing you lots of teeny-tiny entertaining inspiration, like the ultimate grazing board cheat sheet (think: paint by numbers), and a collection of dinner party recipes for right now: small, casual, and special (I’m eagerly waiting for the ultimate dinner party salad). There will be easy, budget-friendly party ideas from Aldi and other grocery stores. I’m going to write about my cookbook club (and how to start one yourself). Beyond entertaining, we also have a story to relaunch you into meal prep, and another on what’s changing in American kitchens.
September has always felt like the real new year to me, a fresh start. It’s a complicated fresh start this year but we hope that some teeny-tiny entertaining is exactly what you need.