Well read, well bred, and well fed are the anchoring themes of Sophistimom.com and its originator, Jaime Richardson, author of Celebrate Every Day: Recipes for Making the Most of Special Moments with Your Family. A blogger since 2008 and a Martha Stewart-endorsed chef, Richardson has packaged specialoccasion recipes in a gorgeously photographed volume of menus for celebrations throughout the year, with everything from a “welcome spring” party to a “fireside supper” dinner party to a “snow day” soiree.
Celebrations are arranged according to season, identifying touchstones that are sure to be shared by many families throughout the year: the last day of school, pumpkin carving, tree trimming, back-to-school preparations, and movie nights, as well as the more whimsical “garden tea party” and “French café.” The menu offerings invite a bit of labor into the preparation process—olive tapenades, homemade marshmallows, and egg salad and avocado tea sandwiches are not ordinary foods for every day, but neither are these ordinary occasions. Richardson’s template for each event is suggestive of the celebratory, the rare treat. A parent concerned with enlarging the minds and thinking of her children, her meal and dessert menus are paired with suggestions for accompanying music and literature to read aloud as a family (think Around the World in Eighty Days for her “world traveler party”).
These celebration templates are just that—Richardson is not so concerned with exact replication but with inspiring her readers with ideas for discovering “the importance of stopping to do something meaningful and wonderful” with loved ones in the midst of life’s chaos. The recipes, photographs, and essays that accompany her celebration themes are sure to inspire parents and children alike to treasure time spent together in the kitchen and elsewhere.
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