Food52 Holiday Potluck and GSBB Party

this photo and all others by my sister Helen! thanks sister!!

Happy December! Happy All the Things! I’ve got a backlog of four (four!) pies to share with you coming soon, but first, I wanted to recap a spectacularly wonderful day with the ladies of Food52 in Austin.

Abbie, (the very talented aargersi on Food52, looking fly in a red tank above) started a monthly gathering of the ladies in her life who love food. Usually we all go out to a new-ish restaurant, but in December we have the most wonderful potluck instead. Last year, we did a little bit of holiday giving as part of our potluck. We stuffed stockings and made double batches of our potluck food to donate to the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars holiday party, which just so happened to be on the same day.

This year, we doubled down on our efforts to help this fantastic organization (which is lead by my incredible sister Joanna!) When the ladies heard that the GSBB had lost much of its funding this year, and that the girls wouldn’t be getting presents as they had last year (for many, the only Christmas presents they would receive) these wonderful women dove in head first. Each woman eagerly agreed to sponsor one or more of the girls in the troop. We had so much interest that we were even able to buy gifts for each of the girls’ siblings as well.  It was truly incredible, and a miraculous show of generosity from these dear cooks. In addition to the gifts, we stuffed stockings and cooked homemade goodies for their holiday party.

All of this, combined with Joanna’s tireless efforts on their behalf, made the GSBB Christmas Party a huge success.  I was lucky enough to be there and get to experience first-hand the joy these girls had when they saw the huge piles of gifts for each one of them.  And when they learned that there were gifts for their siblings as well, the girls were even more thrilled. It was the best ever and I am forever grateful to the incredible women pictured above for their love and generosity.

If you want to learn more about the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program, which is a special troop for girls whose mothers are incarcerated, you can and should check out this documentary about it:

And here are a few words from Joanna:
At the beginning of this school year- The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program lost 40% of our funding from a government grant we had been depending on. They said they still supported our program but were interesting in funding larger statewide programs instead. It has a been a struggle to keep the doors open. Yesterday a friend of a friend heard about the troop and wrote a $100.00 donation check on the spot. I know most of us cant afford a $100.00 donation but if you are looking to give this holiday season- please think of us! Yes, the program is intensive and yes it costs money- but it works! What we are doing makes our communities’ families stronger, kids healthier and neighborhoods safer. If you’d like to throw down 5, 10 or $20.00 it would be greatly appreciated just as a show of community support for our program. And if you don’t have the funds to spare- no problem- just send us some good vibes, prayers and juju that the people and foundations who do have the funds will decide to support us. To donate go here and click OTHER- then write in Girl Scouts Beyond Bars Program. (You gotta write GSBB in for us to get the money!) Thanks!

And now, pictures of food! First up, our December Potluck at Molly’s house!

Abbie made thirschfeld’s outstanding  Spicy Chickpea and Sour Tomato Curry with Noodles.

My sister made and lovingly described this potato gratin in a tomato cream sauce as “a ball of grease” but hot damn, it was delicious!

Elizabeth’s gorgeous Butternut Squash Panzanella! A perfect dish for a fall or winter potluck.

My latest obsession: April Bloomfield’s Caesar Salad.  The leaves of lettuce are left whole to encourage you to eat the salad with your fingers. Have you seen Mind of a Chef? It’s on Netflix and there’s an episode where she makes this salad and I could not get it out of my head. Hey, you can watch her make it online! Thanks internet!

Barbara (Dr. Babs!) made an outstanding version of this beloved Kale and Quinoa Crustless Quiche. Barbara omits the cream cheese and subs the more delicate spinach for the kale, among other changes, and the result is totally delicious.

Eatin’ and drinkin’!

More food! We didn’t get pictures of everything- there was so so much! It was all delicious.

The guest of honor! My darling niece, Phinnie! Shown here with the lovely Molly B!

Now on to stuffing the stockings:

Love these ladies!

And lastly, a very few shots of the food we donated to the GSBB holiday party:

Gorgeous huh? Abbie made this amazing Applesauce Cake and won Christmas by putting not one, but two different caramel sauces on top. The darker sauce is made by boiling down a gallon of apple cider! I am only moderately ashamed to admit that when I brought home the empty cake plate after the party Henry and I diligently scraped off the remaining caramel with our fingers and ate every last bit. Yes, yes we did.

The girl scouts were all excited to see a big bowl of Chex Mix!

Molly C made several of these gorgeous salads! Love the care she put into it!

And all the chips and dips! That’s a wrap on our holiday potluck- can’t wait until next year!! Thank you again to the wonderful women in the Lunch Ladies group for making so much magic happen for these girls this year. You are all amazing.


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