Post-holiday postmortem!

Well, the foodie holiday of the year has come and gone once again, and a wonderful time was had by all involved in the FabFrugalFood world. The entire clan went to visit Donna’s daughter Kate in her new Washington DC digs, so we had plenty of sightseeing to do as well. Of utmost importance was a pilgrimage to Julia Child’s kitchen at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History. A frequent question in our kitchens has always been “WWJD?,” or “What Would Julia Do?”

Donna and Anne paying their respects

We also had the pleasure of dining at Mitsitam, the ‘Native Foods’ cafe within the American Indian Museum. Now, I know what you’re thinking – many museum restaurants are little more than glorified snack bars. The setup was a bit like a cafeteria/food court hybrid, but any reservations were quickly laid to rest at first bite. Divided into five stations, Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America and the Great Plains, this was truly a unique, delectable experience. Being me, I gravitated first toward the South and Meso American offerings, trying tamales, pupusas, quinoa and elotes. All sublime. I could easily have gone back and eaten a meal or two from each; alas, I only got one shot, while Donna got to go three times!

Sadly, we got no photos of the food, but I have great news: as I scoured the internet later that afternoon to see if there were any recipes from Mitsitam floating around anywhere, I found out that, in fact, a cookbook is available, softcover arriving in spring 2010! Check it out:

But on to the main event, COOKING! Being the out-of-towners for a change, it was kind of the best of both worlds. We were all invited by some gracious friends to share the main portion of the Meal of the Year and bring a few items, yet we weren’t responsible for everything. Such a deal – there were 18 of us in all. We decided to offer all the desserts for the day, gathering back at our temporary headquarters, and just brought a couple of sides for the main event. Donna made a variation on her delicious spinach salad, and I decided to make Noble Pig’s Broccoli and Gruyere Gratin – simple and satisfying.

Can she bake a cherry pie or what?

Can she bake a cherry pie or what?

Our spread of sweets was pretty epic, I must say. Donna outdid herself with two cherry pies, which will be the subject of a later post,  (such lovely lattice crusts), a cranberry upside-down cake, a key lime pie, and FOUR pumpkin pies. I made gluten-free pumpkin bread from Gluten-Free Goddess, a gluten-free freeform apple tart by These Three Remain, and something I’d been dying to try: Harold’s fig tart from season one of Top Chef. You can find it in the Top Chef cookbook – a perfect Christmas gift for any fan of the show.

The spread

Kate surveys The Spread

Top Chefs fig tart

Top Chef''s fig tart

We find ourselves humbled by the bounty of our lives, our richness in family, friends and, of course, food.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”  — Melody Beattie

Life is good, and we are grateful for it.

— posted mostly by Anne with a little by Donna


  1. Sherry R. says

    I love the quote from Melody Beattie. I got some slow cooker recipes for Christmas and, having a little free time, I have been cooking. Any suggestions for the slow cooker? Happy New Year to you both and I look forward to your blog in the New Year.

  2. MJ says

    Wow! is soooo yummy….. and soooooooo delicious food. Congratulations you guys. I watched the food channel show down contest – it was so amazing! keep up the good work Am your No.1 fun hehehe!

  3. Angie says

    Mmm… I made cranberry upside-down cake for Thanksgiving too! Although I bet yours was prettier than mine!

    What a lovely spread, I’m quite jealous!

  4. says

    I love the photo of Donna and Anne in front of Julia’s kitchen. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I love Washington D.C.; at one time I went there 5-6 times a year for work and had a lot of great meals there!

  5. says

    That fig tart looks interesting. My sister has a massive prolific golden fig tree in her yard, so I’ll have to bookmark that for next summer.


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