Thanksgiving at the home of Birmingham designer Mary Evelyn McKee is all about family. She grew up in a large family where she learned how to host a lot of people with ease. Mary Evelyn’s warmth and charm are infectious and I imagine that her Thanksgiving must be a real treat for everyone lucky enough to be at her table. In addition to her interior design business, she is also playing a very active role in raising the awareness of suicide prevention in Alabama.
This thanksgiving I am pleased to share this very busy designer and activist tips and tricks for entertaining.
A buffet bar is set up in the dining room for guests to serve themselves.
Tell me about the occasion and meal you made.
I serve Thanksgiving cocktails, as the season changes to cooler temps, Bourbon is the liquor of choice. The "Old Fashioned "is a perennial Southern favorite especially when mixed with Pappy Van Winkle Kentucky bourbon with a very festive garnish of orange and cherry.
Serve it in the perfect double old fashioned glass by William Yeoward, or a sterling tumbler will also do. Team it with the best cheese wafer this side of the Mississippi, Out Of Thyme by Ashley Smith, and you have the start of a great cocktail party, any time of year.
Designer Mary Evelyn McKee
What influences your menu choices when you entertain?
I was given Perla Meyers' The Seasonal Kitchen as a newlywed, she was so ahead of her time and it is still my go to cookbook. I am also a fan of Frank Stitts food and cookbooks. They are always an inspiration. I always make his wonderful Fig recipe in August, its a family favorite.
Who or what has most inspired your entertaining style?
My family has always influenced my entertaining style. They taught me that moments to be savored over a good meal are few and far between. My mother always advised me not to overdo it when I entertain because " No one likes an exhausted hostess".
McKee's Thanksgiving drink of choice, an Old Fashion.
Has anyone been a strong influence in teaching you the l'art de recevoir?Breaking bread is a celebration, good fellowship and good conversation are always my goal when we entertain. That is the way it was at our table growing up in a large family. It must have appealed to my husband as David asked me to marry him at Thanksgiving!
Mary Evelyn favorite cheese wafers.
Do you have a favorite china or tabletop item that you collect?
My favorite China is still Herend Fruits and Flowers , the design is around the edge of the plate so it is still visible when the food is served. It also looks great with my Michael Devine Thomas pattern Limoges.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!