As soon as I heard the news that Elizabeth was expecting baby #2 I was mulling over ideas for her shower — something that would feel “Elizabeth.” She is one of my favorite friends in the kitchen and our favorite hobby is creating side-by-side comparisons. We’ll make two versions of the same dish using different recipes. It’s fun to taste and see how something with similar ingredients, but slightly different techniques or tweaks can arrive at different places.
In a party planning session with co-host Misha, we realized that Elizabeth was having her own side-by-side with her second daughter —same ingredients, different results! Side-by-side became the jumping off point for the shower menu. After that, it all came together in a simple and fun way. This approach also made for great party conversation, giving everyone a chance to release their inner taste tester — some had obvious winners, while others garnered hot debate.
We started off with bites of peaches (white vs. yellow) and a variety of green beans from the garden, served with a three-herb dip.
Next up was Ibérico Ham vs. Prosciutto di Parma.
Then, we sat down to dueling gazpachos, red roasted and green, served side-by-side in a single bowl.
It was a mozzarella match-up with Burrata vs. Buffalo, served with caviar lentils, tomatoes and pistou.
For a sweet finish to the meal we had a chocolate chip cookie bar hosted by five guests along with Philadelphia vs. French ice cream. The surprise winner here was Philadelphia.
I think our mission was accomplished, because the day felt very Elizabeth — a woman, daughter, sister, mother, wife and friend we’re thankful to have by our side, but for who there is no comparison.