Saturday, March 30, 2013

How do you say HOORAY??

HALLIE EPHRON: I have three bottles of champagne in the fridge. Two containers of caviar. I'm waiting for a reason to celebrate, even though I routinely tell aspiring writers DON'T WAIT. Celebrate every milestone along the way!!

Because you don't want your next of kin (much as you may adore them) drinking a toast to your memory with the champagne you never broke out.

My favorite foods for celebrating are champagne or prosecco (which seems less likely to give me a headache.) Shrimp cocktail. Lobster. Caviar. Fresh mango. Grilled lamb, served rare with egg-lemon sauce. Or a steak that someone else cooks. Rare. With bernaise sauce.

What are you go-to foods to celebrate and what does it take to get you to pop the cork? Eat out or eat in? And do you get dressed up??

RHYS BOWEN: We always used to go out to celebrate but we are finding it harder and harder to get a meal as good as the one we cook ourselves. Too often we spend a lot of money and are disappointed.

Champagne and oysters are always top of the list. Also I love lobster (but won't cook that myself and actually feel guilty eating it.) Scallops, jumbo prawns when they have flavor. Lamb--rack, leg, tiny chops all fabulous. For dessert--if I'm eating out it's creme brulee. At home something that someone else has cooked, or strawberries flambe over ice cream.

I've had plenty to celebrate this week--apart from leg of lamb on Easter Sunday. I finished the first draft of the next Molly book, City of Darkness and Light, AND my Amazon rank went to #8 in mystery and thrilled and #26 overall. Of course it didn't stay there, but it was good while it lasted.

And Hallie, you'll be celebrating all next week with your fabulous new book!

HALLIE: So fantastic, Rhys! Sounds like it's time to unpack the tiaras! I'll wear one, too!!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm always looking for excuses to celebrate! I do keep champagne in the fridge, or proseco (like you, Hallie, it's less likely to give me a headache.) And like Rhys, I love champagne and oysters, but there's nowhere very convenient at home to get good fresh oysters.

Also, like Rhys, we don't do fancy restaurants much these days, as it's usually both really expensive and disappointing. Maybe I should start stocking caviar...

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yup, I'm a prosecco girl, too! I don't usually think about celebrating with food, for some reason. (Although all your lists sound delicious and I will happily join you.)

I think about this from time to time, because I'm a saver. Oh, we'll save that champagne for...something. But if you save, the line always moves, and nothing is ever important or special enough. So for instance, we got a lot of wonderful wine from my mother's estate. My first thought was to save it for  "special occasions." But then I decided--no. We're drinking it NOW--and we do, and we toast my mother every time. 

Yes, there's a lot to celebrate. More to come!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Like Hallie and Debs, I love champagne now even more than I did when young, because it doesn't give me a headache. That's worth celebrating right there! When I got onto The List for the first time, Ross pulled out a beautiful chilled bottle of Dom Perignon, which we matched with take-out Greek pizza. For me, the essence of celebrating is a delightful treat you wouldn't otherwise get, which, in my case, is take-out pizza. 

The other thing we like to do as a family? Watch movies. The celebratory feeling comes from knowing you've already accomplished X, and therefore can kick back with a film and kill an evening absolutely guilt-free.

ROSEMARY HARRIS: We're a Be Here Now kind of household - and not just because my hubby was instrumental in the publication of that book. The snow has melted! Yippee! We're not sick!! Woo-hoo!! And we tend to celebrate these landmark occasions with champagne or prosecco.

There's something about that pop.. the bubbles and flutes...
On the food front...not so much. All the food I used to think of as celebratory - creme brulee, pate - I don't eat anymore. These days a big bowl of buttered popcorn could do the trick.

But I digress... to go with the bubbly, caviar or smoked salmon with capers on tiny pumpernickel bread works nicely for me.

LUCY BURDETTE: Hooray for you Rhys! such great news...and can't wait for Hallie's book to pop! I'll come to dinner at any of your places, except when you're serving lamb....

For me, it's all about the cake:). Chocolate cake, yellow cake with whipped cream and strawberries, those are the top contenders for a celebration at our house.

HALLIE: This is reminding me that guilty pleasures are another way to celebrate. Bring on the hot dogs and sauerkraut, Cheetohs and barbecued potato chips! And while we're at it, how about a chocolate malted milkshake. Once in a while, why not?

When you're celebratory, what do you do, what do you wear, and most of all, how do you toast your own good fortune?


  1. Champagne is a definite for celebrating . . . or, we enjoy a nice wine . . . generally not out, generally not dressed up . . . . The food varies, dependent on the moment and the reason for the celebrating, although holiday celebrations have specific meals [like lamb for Easter] that are traditional for our family . . . . We have a tendency to eat foods we especially enjoy "on the spur of the moment" rather than waiting for a specific celebration to enjoy them --- but anything chocolate definitely makes the list for celebrations . . . . Celebrating is less about the menu and more about the people, about family, about being together . . . .

  2. Lovely sentiment, Joan.

    I think the biggest milestone in my writing life is when I type THE END the first time on any manuscript. Usually that means the heavy lifting is over.

    And I think I'm going to start a campaign for DRESSING UP when you say YAY! Get out the pearls. Long gloves. Turn on the stereo and cut loose!

    Maybe I'll go into the tiara business.

  3. The last two years have been nasty, but I'm with Joan. Celebrations mean friends and family sharing the good news. Barb and I will throw a party for just about anything. Tequila and tacos is my personal favorite.

  4. For us it's all about the food. And sometimes that might mean the perfect pizza, or sometimes a GREAT big Jamocha milkshake from Arby's. And anything that makes us really happy calls for a celebration.

    A very smart woman I know by the name of Deborah Crombie sent me a note with a few words that I will never ever forget. I had just typed "The End" on Whimsey. She said "you will never have this happen again in quite this way - celebrate!"

    There's a life lesson in those words - and one I hope I'll remember forever.

  5. When our girls were little we started going out for what we called "report card dinners". If they had good grades they were allowed to choose whatever they wanted on the menu, and their dad--who detests eating out--could not protest. We started out at fast food places, then to the Big Boy kind of place, then Olive Garden was a big favorite for a lot of years.

    When my middle daughter was one semester from having had straight A's since kindergarten we went to a really nice steak place, and when we were toasting her success she asked if the last report card dinner could be at our local, and very pricey, French restaurant. Of course! She had already earned five scholarships.

    The restaurant, the Maisonette, is no longer there, but for many years it was the only 5-star place east of the Mississippi (which includes the entire Eastern Seaboard, mind you). We were also celebrating my oldest daughter's summa cum laude graduation from nursing school, and her husband's successful passing of the bar. It was a night to remember, and worth every penny. Even the Old Crab, aka my husband, said so. We still have these, whenever we have a chance, our very favorite way to celebrate.

    I have two tiaras. One was a gift for my 50th, and the other a gift for my 60th. Someone seems to be trying to tell me something, yes?

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  7. I"m not great at celebrating--something I wasn't going to share. I'm guilty of putting off too many celebrations until next week, until the weather gets better, until I find a new pair of shoes--you get the idea. But on Monday I'm going to be celebrating the life of a friend who never let an opportunity to celebrate and be happy get away and who is gone way, way too soon.

    I'll be toasting my friend Gary, and making a resolution to follow his example.

  8. Darlene, so sorry about your friend--we'll toast him too!

    Alma, you start celebrating--you deserve it!

    Jack, that sounds like a great party.

    And Karen--love your story of report card dinners. The family won't ever forget that!

  9. Darlene, I'll toast your friend, Gary, too.

    For me, every day celebrations call for something forbidden like pizza, dessert, or if it's an extra special every day celebration, Chinese food.

    A big celebration, however, calls for a trip back home and a drive over to Woodman's in Essex for deep-fried lobster and clams with a tall glass of their fresh lemonade (some in my company toss in a little gin).

  10. Celebrations for us are mostly about food: a nice dinner out, ice cream, dessert. But I did just buy myself a new handbag, and (needing justification?) told myself it was because of Tuesday's release of my second book.

    I think I need a tiara. It would go well with the (ornamental!) racing helmet on the shelf.

  11. Let's hear it for handbags! I hope you bought a gorgeous one, Tammy. And a BIG congratulations on the new book.

    Once when I got very disappointing raise I went right out and bought a great handbag. Made me feel MUCH better.

  12. hey what happened to my early morning comment? no worries..let's celebrate this one making it..

  13. Karen:
    We did those report card and other wonderful accomplishment/milestone dinners, too . . . children should know their hard-won accomplishments are recognized and celebrated, as are they, just for being themselves . . . .

    So sorry about your friend . . . tonight we are celebrating, and we will offer a toast for Gary.

    At our house, the Christmas decorations are still up [the tree, too] and tonight we are celebrating Christmas, Easter, and the safe return of our long-deployed-with-the-navy daughter . . . this celebration’s going to be huge!

  14. Congratulations, Tammy!

    You can borrow one of my tiaras, any time.