The month of March – wow, what a chock-filled month ahead!  There are so many significant days (other than birthdays, anniversaries, etc.): St. Patrick’s day is on the 17th, Spring finally kicks in on the 20th, the 26th is the first day of Passover, and the very last day of the month – the 31st – is Easter Sunday.  Phew.

So with all that in mind, I thought what better time than now to focus on hosting. For me, hosting starts with 3 key and simple things to keep in mind:

1. What’s the occasion?  The occasion truly does set the tone for the whole thing.  I would plan a birthday dinner very differently than an Easter supper. The occasion always sets the direction for the food, drink, music, lighting, and table settings.

2. How many guests?  Here at Connecticut Country House, when it’s a small gathering, hands down I love an intimate dinner party.  It’s easier to plate the food in the kitchen for each guest, and serve when everyone is seated. But when it’s a larger family holiday supper or a big crowd, buffet-style is the only way to go.

3. What to serve?  I like to make it special, not complicated, no matter what the occasion is.  More times than not, I love to find heirloom recipes that have a story or a connection to the occasion or guests.

Everything else – all the details – stem from here.

This month, in honor of Saint Patrick, I’m going to share a “how-to” for a pretty Irish Tea (I am married to a Murphy after all), and then show you the flavor of my Hungarian heritage in preparing for a family filled Easter Sunday supper.

And this month in honor of you, my reader, I’m asking for you to please send me your special family or heirloom recipe for the upcoming holidays. Please be sure to include your story of why it’s so special to you. I will select a handful of distinctly different recipes, whip up each one – style and shoot – and feature your dish of delish in an upcoming posting.

Nothing like sharing a well-loved recipe with friends.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Love, Nora













  • Hi Nora:
    Attached is a recipe from my grandmother. No one, not even her children called her “Mom” or “Grandma”. It was always “Aggie”. And what a character. I remember her dancing hula dances with her sisters in the living room, and putting black olives on her teeth to make my sisiter and I laugh. I have many fond memories visiting her and my grandfather, “Daddy John” in Silver Spring, Maryland, in a beautiful, old townhouse which has now been torn down for condos.

    And she loved a crowd to cook for. The more the merrier. You knew a Christmas party at her house with cousins, aunts, uncles and family friends was always an event, full of love, much laughter, piano playing by Aunt Sissy and plenty of food. Christmas comfort food: Swedish meatballs, macaroni and cheese, ham, turkey, relish trays (do people still do these?), plenty of desserts and candy in crystal bowls.

    Since she was also a child of the Depression, there were some scary recipes that my Mom and I found when going through her old recipe box. It is called Rinktum Ditty. Please do not bother to test/cook this. It sounds awful, although my Mother and Aunt Peg, Mom’s sister, swear it is wonderful. She typed it out, I think, after her afternoon scotch and soda (only after the sun goes over the yardarm). So here tis from her typewriter verbatim to your blog…….

    Here is how I make the rinktum ditty (or whatever it is):
    1 can tomato soup
    1 large can tomato sauce
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    grated sharp cheese
    Tad of mustard
    Blurp of catsup
    Sprinkling of minced onion
    A dash or 2 of worchestershire sauce

    Honey, I don’t have any set way of making the above. Improvise. It depends how man you make it for. I love alot of cheese. One time I had quite a bit left over so after a day or two, and I wasn’t in the mood for a big dinner…I made real crispy toast, put a glob of the above stuff plus a slice of tomato and some bacon slices, and then just plunk the whole thing under the broiler and yummy…some kind of good.

    And there you have it.
    Bon appetit! Karen

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