In March, I hosted my family for an Ostara Brunch. I settled on an Ostara brunch earlier in the year instead of an Easter brunch, or a non-themed brunch ecause I like themed parties. Because I am not a Catholic or Christian and I treat the Easter days as an extra long weekend and nothing more. And because I am exploring new traditions with my family that resonate more with me than the old (expected) ones.
Ostara celebrates the spring equinox. The word Ostara comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess name, Eostre. Eostre represented spring and new beginnings. The celebration of spring is present in many ancient customs, across all cultures, and it seems that Wicca has borrowed from many of them for Ostara.Boston Public Library
Current themes that keep popping up in my community building are loneliness, care, rest, and asking for help. A lot of these came to a head in my brunch planning, and I am open to see what lessons an event like this has for me, and how it can further inspire my community building.
EVENT PLANNER AND HOST
Planning small meals or gatherings for my friends and family over the years has taught me what kind of an event planner I am. Some may call me a “perfectionist” like it’s a bad thing. I call it attention to detail with an eye toward ensuring that everyone knows what to expect and can prepare themselves accordingly.
I “over plan” things, but that is how I know I will be successful and comfortable at an event. I have a hard time at an organized event that I don’t have some control over, where there is no itinerary, or I don’t know the itinerary. I want to know as many details as possible before I attend. And so I build my events the same way. At least I try to. Even if it is “just” a family meal.
I am still working on how to respond to specific details during the event to ensure that everyone remains comfortable and included. Usually I have so many things going on in my brain that it gets fuzzy and becomes difficult to filter all the information coming in so I can react appropriately. It’s not that I fail to notice important details, like if someone’s water needs refilling. It’s that I notice every single detail and I have no bandwidth to respond to the truly important things.
It’s funny to think that hosting my family used to lead to heightened anxiety, but actually having them in my home and feeding them relaxes my anxiety. I say “funny” but I mean “annoying” and “stressful”! It’s also stressful when people tell me to “just relax” and “it will be fine”.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY MEALS
I can’t remember where I read this, but I really loved this quote:
“Family dinner means we’re sitting around our dining table, eating and talking with each other. No phones or other electronic devices are present.”Unknown
A quick Google search shows that family mealtimes are important to a child’s development, show correlations with lower risk of depression and anxiety, and lead to better relationships. Sitting down to dinner together has always been a priority for me with my kiddo. I have been to a lot of family meals over the years, but for the reasons noted above – anxiety, perfectionism – hosting larger family meals has traditionally been difficult. I consider if a blessing that my blended family is so close and connected. And while maintaining these connections isn’t solely reliant on my – oldest daughter syndrome – I can use events like this to do my part.
While I come from a blended family I am also trying to build one for my son. Family traditions are important for a lot of reasons, and I have seen the difficulty first hand with trying to maintain those through a divorce or other family changes. I also am highly aware of the problematic nature of a lot of the traditions I took part in as a child and want to find new ones to invite my family into and pass along to my son.
I have been including this recipe in my brunches ever since my first Galentine’s brunch back in 2019. It reads weird on the page, but it is a hit every time.
Fontina, Pear & Carmelized Onion Galette. Makes 2 medium galettes or 1 big one.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 4 cup onion slices (3-4 medium onions, I prefer red)
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (sub wine)
- Heat butter over ledium heat in al arge pan. Add onions, pinch of salt. Cook covered for 15 minutes.
- Remove cover, stir, increase heat slightly and cook another 20 minutes stirring occasionally until onions turn a nice translucent brown.
- Add vinegar. Turn off heat and scrape bottom of the pan. Allow to cool
- 2 frozen pie crusts
- 2 cup crumbly cheese (the recipe calls for fontina, but I have used vegan parmesan and vegan feta successfully)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp dry thyme
- 1/2 tbsp dry rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 2 pears, thinly sliced
- 1 egg yolk + 1 tsp milk (dairy or non)
- 1 cup of the carmelized onions
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a small bowl, combine cheese and spices.
- Remove dough from pans and flatten, pressing the cracks back together when they form.
- Top with a layer of the onions, leaving 1-2 inch border along the edge.
- Cover onions with a layer of pears, then top with the cheese mixture.
- Lift edges of dough and fold inward over the toppings. Pinch together any tears. It doesn’t matter if it looks messy!
- Brush egg mixture over exposed crust.
- Chill 10 to 15 minutes.
- Back 35 to 45 minutes.