Fall into Pride
Two of my very favorite things at one time; Pride and Fall. Growing up in suburban Philadelphia, fall can be a magical time of crisp weather and turning leaves. Sundown comes earlier and Halloween is on the horizon with the rest of the holiday season in tow. Pumpkins, cornstalks, mums and Indian corn are the order of the day for outdoor decorating. I still enjoy all of those elements of fall (even some trees lose their leaves here) and, now I have Pride to layer on the joy of the Fall Season here in our Valley.
Growing up and subsequently coming out as a young man in Philadelphia felt like a mine field of emotions. The onset of Pride parades, events and nationwide festivities to celebrate LGBTQIA Pride was almost overwhelming to a young suburban gay man at the time. My first Pride parade was actually in New York. What a thrill. To stand on crowded streets, see the participants, hear the noise, and be a part of the celebration of life was and is amazing!
Looking up all around me and seeing people in the windows of apartments having parties to share Pride in a more intimate setting was an epiphany for me. Though I wanted to be a part of the bigger story, I also wanted to surround myself with dear friends from our community and our supporters. I wanted to put my personal stamp on the celebration on Pride. What better way than to throw a fabulous brunch (Gay Lunch)!
Entertaining at home is a lot easier and can be much more fun than you think. It also has the added value to personalizing the experience for your friends and loved-ones. I wax poetically in these pages each month about sharing your home, this is the perfect moment and it doesn’t mean you have to redecorate…you just have to have some fun and think PRIDE. But, does that mean everything has to be covered in paper rainbows? Of course not! Let me give you some simple and sophisticated ideas to help you create a memorable Pride brunch that can easily become a yearly ritual.
As with any project, I begin by making a plan. The plan keeps you focused and on track. It is the difference between success and frustration (in this case, also known as failure but, we don’t like that word). There are three simple headings for your plan; invitation, décor and menu. Let’s begin and the beginning…
Invitations: There has never been an easier time to create and send fabulous personalized invitations than today. I go to www.evite.com and find a plethora of invitation styles for every occasion. In fact, I am giving evite a shout-out here because they even have an entire section of invites dedicated to Pride. Give them a try and when setting up your free account, you can store all the guest’s emails for later so you can easily send more invitations again for your next party.
Décor: This is obviously a biggie. It’s Pride, we are gay. Let’s face it, there is a lot at stake here. My idea for this year is, keep it simple. I like balloons. The color selection should be a rainbow, of course. And did you know that you can easily purchase a helium tank and balloons at many stores, including Target (my go-to)?
A brunch may be a daytime event but that doesn’t mean you cannot use candles. I love votives! I use them for every party, day or night. One way to give them a pride effect is to add colored water to your votive cups, then drop in a floating votive candle. You can create a rainbow with the water and with the white votive you have just created a simple and memorable Pride centerpiece for your table. My own little spin on the idea is to run a single line of candles down the center of my table, where the votive cups are touching in a straight line. I think it makes the most impactful look if 2 or 3 of each cup in a row is filled with the same color. It makes the rainbow bolder.
As for the rest of you table. Why not make it all white!? I intend to use a white cloth and napkins, white dishes, white serving pieces and clear glass stemware. The intensity and glow of the all-white table punctuated by the rainbow votives will be stunning. Did you notice something there? No flowers! I told you I would keep it simple and easy, not to mention cost effective.
Menu: One of the reasons I enjoy doing brunches is because it simplifies the menu. Many of my own brunch recipes are make-ahead and that keeps my prep time in the kitchen to a minimum. I keep the bar simple too. It is the desert, it is sunny and warm so I serve Champagne, Mimosas and Sangria. Colors, bubbles and fresh fruit, who could ask for more!?
Dessert has to be just as memorable. I take dessert very seriously, so I call in the big guns. There is a new pastry chef in town, Yamir Perez of Cake & Cakes ( www.cake-cakes.com ). His creations are not only delicious but. they are so artistic and so beautiful that you will want to display them. His combinations of flavors and ingredients are as gorgeous as his presentation. Give him a call and he will help you to create a totally unique desert that your guests will be talking about for years to come.
Here are a few of my favorite make-ahead brunch recipes from the good folks at:
https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/lemony-crepe-casserole This casserole is reminiscent of a bread pudding, just more fabulous!
https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/overnight-french-toast This French toast dish is so easy to make and then you just pop in the refrigerator for 12 hours and bake it before you serve. The recipe calls for Challah bread but, it works equally as well with fresh sourdough as well. Here’s another little hint, you can make it up to 3days in advance and let it sit covered in your refrigerator.
https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/potato-bacon-and-cheddar-tart What is a brunch without some bacon? I always like to add items are that both sweet and savory and this one will thrill your guests. It is vitally important that you use fresh potatoes and thinly sliced bacon. Hit our local famer’s market for the potatoes and have your grocer’s butcher slice the bacon for you.
Happy Pride Everyone!
Foley & Stinnette Interior Design
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