THE SHORT STORY…
L’arte d’arrangiarsi… The art of making something out of nothing. The art of turning a few simple ingredients into a feast or a few gathered friends into a festival. ~Eat, Pray Love
One of my favorite pastimes involves simply “making stuff up.” Making up a recipe, a design plan, a flower arrangement, a bed. I can’t help myself, for it’s how God made me! Life’s spontaneity and the gathering of friends thrill me! It would be nothing for my husband to get a text from me saying that 50 people are expected at our house the next day for a grill out (good thing he likes to entertain, too)! I love people, love cooking for family and friends and love home decor!!! I hope you enjoy Peach and the Willow…real and impromptu moments from my culinary life, my home styling life and all sorts of fun life in between.
My earliest memories are of learning how to cook and entertain. It began in my grandmother’s humble Florida kitchen, hands in the buttermilk biscuit dough, eyes keenly fixed on her technique for rolling the biscuits individually in her floured hands. And that taste hot from the oven!!! Nothing else compared! My grandmother, a wonderful “country cook,” as well as a gardener, rarely used a recipe card but enthusiastically swapped them with friends.
My mother, also a fantastic cook, possessed the party planning skills in the family. Whether presenting an impromptu “heat and serve” Sara Lee coffee cake to a few friends or throwing an extravagant holiday party, mom enjoyed the company of others, always having a knack for lively get-togethers where guests felt comfortable and special. I took an early interest in assisting with all of the family potlucks, church socials, bridal and baby showers and birthday parties, and soon began planning soirees of my own. One of my fondest recollections is of the dinner party I hosted my freshmen year of college while home on Christmas break. I invited twelve of my closest friends for a formal Christmas dinner of Cornish Hens with Port Wine Sauce. I had NO idea what I was getting into…but I knew I was going to have fun doing it. This time around, Grandma Berta served as the sous chef, minus the buttermilk biscuits. I nearly killed my dear grandmother but the dinner was a great success and began my love affair with dinner parties at home.
After college graduation, I continued to “entertain,” yet this time on the stage as a professional singer. My singing career took me around the globe, attributing to my love of different cultures and their unique cuisines, landscapes, architecture and people. Each new place brought new inspiration and desire to create and share these experiences with others. Although I will most likely never be able to replicate the antipasto extravaganza I experienced in an alfresco restaurant on the Isle of Capri, I will never forget the heavenly display of cured meats, roasted vegetables, olives and cheeses…and wine!…that I consumed that beautiful summer afternoon. To this day, whenever I create a cheese board, I remember that experience and try to give my dish a hint of that opulence.
Today, I live in Franklin, Tennessee with my husband and son, the absolute loves of my life and my own slice of heaven on earth. The years have seen me wear the hat of the singer, actress, entrepreneur, decorator, event planner, floral designer, caterer, music teacher and song publisher, but food, family, friends and a love for decorating “anything” have always been the thread woven throughout the years. I adore the making of a home…the dreaming about its possibilities, either alone or with clients, the styling and restyling of it, the ever evolving process. I love creating homes that are reflections of their owners, that invite and welcome you inside, that provide a soft and comforting place to land at the end of a long day. This, along with greater communion with God and each other, is my mission and my joy.
I hope you enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy creating it! Here’s to sharing life’s indulgences, big and small, and to living life with grateful hearts on the daily!!!!