Long ago, I wrote about one of my family’s favorite dinner rituals – Salad Night.  Another of our absolute favorites is something we call “Feast.”

D and I started this tradition many, many years ago now.  We would usually shop together and just wander around the market selecting quick, easy, fresh, seasonal, eat-with-your-hands kinds of foods.  We would chop and prep together then lay everything out on a big tray or platter and just dig in.  It was always a treat.

DSC05274Now, with three kids, Feast is of course, less leisurely.  I am usually shopping solo, blessedly.  But I still lay it all out on a big tray and we just go to town on all the goodies.

Like with salad night, this is a perfect opportunity for us to let the kids experiment with making their own (circumscribed) choices about what to eat.  It’s really fun to watch them pair flavors, experience new textures and tastes, and fill their bellies with lots of good stuff.  It also provides wonderful chances to discuss seasonal eating, because new yummies appear while standby favorites disappear with each Feast.

Somehow, our dinnertime dialogue is always qualitatively and quantitatively improved on Feast night.

Although the menu changes as per the season, here are our go-to favorites for Feast:DSC05277

  • We always include a local, grassfed soft cheese that we warm in the oven.  I can’t eat it, but it’s one of Ds absolute favorite things to eat in the world and our eldest, W, seems to be following in his dad’s footsteps.
  • I slice or chop up whatever cold veggies I can: cucumbers, bell peppers, carrot sticks, green beans that have been cooked and chilled.
  • DSC05281When I can find them, I will always buy organic artichokes and have a Feast night.  We fight over them.  (Especially when my mom is in town.)
  • Kalamata olives.  M and I are fiends for them.
  • Roasted figs.  When they are in season, there is nothing better stuffed with a briny Kalamata and wrapped in a little prosciutto.
  • Speaking of prosciutto, our proteins usually include charcuterie-style meats like jamon, salami, and the lDSC05282ike.  Sometimes I will buy duck rillettes or a treat like that.
  • I also often include a seafood protein, such as smoked salmon, steamed shrimp or for really special occasions, some crab claws.
  • Fruit – it’s berries in the summer and pears, apples or citrus in the fall and winter months.  I also usually serve up a dried fruit or two like a dried plum, dates with filling, or apricots.
  • Nuts – usually Marcona almonds.
  • And what’s a feast without a lovely dark chocolate square to round out the meal?

If you decide to give Feast a try at your house, be sure to stop back by this post and share your experience!

This post and others like it can be found at the Thanks Goodness It’s Monday Link Carnival, #38!

One Response to “Family “Feast””

  1. on 04 Oct 2013 at 9:18 amSarah

    Lo-lo-lo-loveeee this idea, this style of eating and this is my favorite post of yours, ever! We have got to do this more often. It reminds me of eating picnic style or al fresco in Europe after a run at a great market. You’re inspiring me! Thank you!

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