Food Feedback: Help her plan holiday feast

I have never met anyone else who has heard about the grape camp ["A list of wine gifts, checked twice" by Elizabeth Downer, Food & Flavor, Dec. 12]. I had been looking for a unique travel experience to mark my husband's 45th birthday and had done a lot of research on wine-related trips. My husband is a wine collector and self-professed foodie, so two years ago I surprised him with a trip (for both of us!) to the Sonoma County Grape Camp. It was an amazing experience -- from the harvest to blending our own wine. Some of the locales we visited were not open to the public, and so they were truly unique experiences. The food-pairing meals were delicious and we didn't have one complaint about the entire trip (which is unusual for us!).



Thank you so much for a very realistic view of how the wonderful and exciting holidays are for the host/meal preparer ["Recipe for a ready-made holiday" by Arlene Burnett, Food & Flavor, Nov. 14]. I am tired of magazine articles with recipes serving eight and a lot of last-minute preparations. What imaginary kingdom do these people live in? It is also important to me to spend time with my visitors, yet get a meal on the table with a minimum of apparent fuss.

I would like to see you do a similar article for Christmas -- perhaps solicit ideas and recipes from those of us who serve 20 or more for a holiday dinner. Each year, my husband and I do a sit-down, everyone-at-one-table dinner for about 20, have house guests including small children, have additional family visitors from out of town, have family members who must have a gluten-free diet, have one ordinary stove, have no cleaning or other type of household help, and live in a townhouse. I will be glad to share my recipes and tips for making it work but would love to get such from others doing the same kind of holiday dinner.

Many thanks.


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