11.16.2012

Get out the map




Hi, friends.

A few things today before I sign off for the weekend:

:: I've shared some thoughts about yesterday's photo journaling project in the comments section here. Thank you, Gemma, for the prompting. Thanks also to Steph and Pia for their thoughtful comments here.

:: I've (finally!) been updating and overhauling my recipe index this week, and I'm almost done. The new design is much more user friendly, I think. There will be a section specially devoted to Thanksgiving, which I hope will be helpful. I'm aiming to get it up by tomorrow night or first thing Sunday morning, so stay tuned.

:: These party maps! I've shared my party maps a couple of times on this site, here and here, and a reader e-mailed to ask if I might share more. I'm sure I have a zillion of these things tucked into various cookbooks and buried in stacks somewhere, but these are the three I could get my hands on this morning.

There are a few ideas behind the maps. First, they allow me to visualize the meal or spread in a way that helps me better judge if all of the parts and pieces are working together and if the quantity of food makes sense. When I think not only about the menu, but about the mechanics of how I will serve the food - which platters and plates and bowls I'll use and, in the case of bigger parties, where in my home I'll put each dish - I start to get a feel for the energy of the meal I'm creating, and I like that. That sounds kind of new age-y and weird, but I'm not sure how else to put it. The maps' most functional purpose, the reason I started drawing them in the first place years ago, is that they make it very easy for people who know my kitchen to lend a hand. I'm sure you've experienced the feeling that it's just faster to do something yourself than to explain to even the most eager and competent helper how you'd like it done. What's nice here is that all I need to say to Eli or a friend is, "Please plate the eggplant." They can do it without asking which plate to use, and they even get a reminder from the map to sprinkle the za'ater over top before serving. I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year, but if I were, there'd be a party map, for sure.

Thanks for another great week of NaBloPoMo. Enjoy the weekend, and meet you back here on Monday.

(p.s. If you click on the party maps, you can see them larger.)

12 comments:

Hannah said...

I'm a party mapper too! Mine don't usually end up quite so tidy though. I think I use it as a 'think through' while yours looks like a polished 'final thoughts'? Love seeing the ideas take shape visually - thanks for sharing! Can't wait to see what you have for us next week. Happy weekend --

talley said...

The maps are so descriptive and clear, far more explanatory that my usual timeline to-do list. I love the second one where you write (and Mia)! Yes, and Mia. By the way, what is Mia's favorite food these days?

off to catch up on your other posts from this week - seems like I missed some fun on Instagram.

shari said...

you've inspired me to make a dinner map for thanksgiving! love them. hope you are having a nice weekend.

Luisa said...

Those maps are INSANE. Love them. I feel like you should frame "important" ones!

Maja said...

I love the maps! Makes me want to attend your Chanukah party. So whimsical and yet so practical.

Maja said...

I absolutely love these. Makes me want to come to your Chanukah party. So whimsical!

Pia said...

Oh these meal maps! In clean black frames, they'd make a white wall look very, very cool.

Tasha @ Stale Bread into French Toast said...

These are great! I love mixing the drawings with words, I need to do this for more of my everyday stuff, I'm such a visual person that seeing things sketched out helps the info go right to my brain. Maybe I'll try mapping a day, or a weekly plan . . .

koshercamembert said...

The best part about these maps is that they allow other people to help out when they arrive. I can't talk while cooking/chopping/prepping. This way I could just point to the map and turn back my concentration to whatever I'm doing. I'm going to try to make one!

I love that Eli makes a "beast" - why is is that you don't seem to cook meat, or talk about it here?

Steph said...

You know I am a huge fan of your maps. I know that you make, use and like them as a tool for preparation. But since I almost always stumble upon them after the fact, and because I am such a fan of historical documentation, I love them as artifact. A way to retrace a meal shared with amazing people; to remember a special night.

The first one I saw was when you were in Berlin and I stayed at your old place. I was chopping up an heirloom tomato in the kitchen and saw the map you'd drawn for the night you had Brian and me over for dinner. It's another reason sitting at your table is such a special experience. There is so much thought and attention that goes into the preparation of that meal, whether it's a five course New Year's dinner or a simple spread of olives and hummous fresh bread.

Safe travels, my dear. Hello's to you all your people (and a special hug to your mama for me), and I'll see you when you get back! xo

Gemma said...

I love this idea! We're having a very quiet Christmas this year but I'm thinking about arranging a brunch or lunch for friends some time over Christmas/New Year so I'll have to give the party maps a try.

summerplayshouse.com said...

What a great idea! I'm going to have to try your map idea this year. We are hosting Thanksgiving and this seems like it would be so helpful.