Create: The Scene

Bash Please Movie Night// Photo by Brandan Kidd

I recently had the chance to interview the two brilliant event planners, Paige Appel and Kelly Harris, of Bash, Please. They shared their smart, original ideas with me for a Martha Stewart Living series about party tricks. You might want to check out the story before your next event.

These two inspired me to think about making something more of my next gathering, and they also got me thinking about two people who knew how to throw a really great party: my parents. My mom would always weave a cohesive theme (farm trip, day at the movies, aerobics/workout–hey, it was the 80s!) throughout all of our birthday parties. Even family gatherings like a First Communion had all-tied-up-with-bows details that made it more than a get-together, but an event. Not flashy or extravagant either, just thoughtfully planned and creatively pulled off.

However, it was the imaginative parties thrown for their friends that had me up all night spying, peeking around corners and marveling at serious grown-ups having so much fun. I loved when my parents rented a jukebox loaded with 60s and 70s hits for a nostalgic summer dance bash on the patio. And the more elaborate Valentine’s Day 1920s costume party, a play on the 1929 St. Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago, a shoot out between Al Capone’s South Side Italian gangsters and a North Side Irish gang.

Women came as flappers, there was a cigarette girl and one woman channeled her elegant great Aunt. The men rented zoot suits and a couple even tricked out a flower box to disguise a toy-machine gun. All this roaring 20s pageantry transformed our suburban home into a stage for one very memorable night.

I would love to have attended that party as an adult; maybe I’ll just have to re-create it myself someday.

Create: Apple Everything

Here’s the thing about a day spent eating cider doughnuts and plucking apples: you will end up with several sacks of the rosy cheeked beauties that you then need to consume. I remember my mom boiling up countless batches of apple sauce in a effort to lessen our teetering piles of fruit, and assuage her guilt about letting it go to waste.

Despite the many hours of labor, we never ate all that apple sauce. Which is why I thought it was really brilliant when my friend Sarah showed up for dinner and gifted us with her homemade applesauce.  The presentation in a mason jar with a hand-stamped tag made such an elegant, simple treat for fall.

Sarah adapted this recipe from the canning blog Food in Jars by leaving out the sugar and sweetening the apple sauce with a teaspoon of honey. Just perfect.

I’ve been grabbing apples at the greenmarket and baking crumble based on this Bon Appétit recipe. I use the one cup of the sugar for the crumble and sprinkle a little sugar (not a 1/2 cup) on the cut fruit. I’ve mixed plain and flavored oatmeal (maple, cinnamon) which went over well. Also, because I can’t resist all the apple names, I use a jumble of varieties and slice just enough to fill the baking dish, which is certainly less than the four pounds called for in the recipe.

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