In 2012, I posted this cell phone photo on Facebook of a plastic grocery bag full of satsumas left on my front porch.
If we’re being honest, they were left on my front stoop patio thing, since our previous home didn’t really have a porch. Nevertheless, our neighbor from across the street and over a few houses to the right, had left us a gift of fruit fresh from her satsuma tree, as she had done many times before.
The “satsuma” is a traditional citrus fruit grown by Louisiana homeowners. Similar to an orange, they are a sweet fruit, easy to peel and bear little to no seeds.
Despite her leaving us satsumas, we really didn’t know “Miss Mohamed”, the elderly lady who would attach the satsumas to her walker and deliver to all of our neighbors. When the giant moving truck was parked outside of our home and as we were packing it full with all of our belongings for the trek across town, Miss Mohamed once again rolled her tennis ball adorned walker over to our home.
This time, however, it was not to deliver satsumas. It was to inquire why we had a moving truck parked in front of our house. I excitedly exclaimed, “our new house is complete and its move in weekend!”. Miss Mohamed was unimpressed. She proceeded to fuss at me for not having mentioned we were building a house… and for not having told her we would be moving. She said something to me that has, and will likely forever remain stained in my memory. She said “people don’t get to know their neighbors anymore. They come in and out of their homes and you never even see them. In my country, your neighbors were like your family”.
You guys know where this story picks up. We moved into our neighborhood in May of 2014, one in which we specifically chose because of its small size, its all but mandatory front porch requirement and the sentence on the builder’s website that read “we give the sidewalks back to the community” by eliminating front loading driveways from the houses on the boulevard. In July of that same year, I hosted a Patriotic Porch Party as an attempt to get to know my new neighbors. That porch party blog post has been one of the more popular posts on this website and I think its popularity goes beyond being a festive way to decorate your porch. I think it speaks to what we all know in our hearts is missing from today’s society: true community. It also inspired my newest cookbook!
As I have worked on the completion of Picnics, Potlucks & Porch Parties I have been so very passionate about its focus revolving around the inspiration and encouragement to get out from the comfort of our homes, into our communities, and really and truly get to know our neighbors.
I adore my neighbors. They have tested recipes, coordinated porches for me to photograph, and tagged along as I stood on chairs to snap five zillion photos of cafe au lait punch. More than being great cookbook helpers, they have been some of the greatest cheerleaders for my endeavors. Brian and I cannot walk our dogs without someone asking when the books will be available or demanding that their copy be signed.
It extends beyond just your neighbors, though. It encourages picnics with your significant other, tailgates with your friends, extraordinary holiday potlucks with your family; all under the simple encouragement…..get outside and get to know your “people”.
In blog land, almost each and every day someone announces their new cookbook. I didn’t want to introduce mine without first sharing the story of how it came to be. It’s a story that is so very special to me. I’m working with a videographer to bring this story to life and y’all, I’m so excited about it. I want to share and preserve Miss Mohamed’s “get to your know your neighbors” mission.
And with that, I proudly announce that I’ll be going on QVC this May with Picnics, Potlucks & Porch Parties!!!
I don’t know that there are words to adequately express my excitement. I realize more than anyone that I am being handed a gift from above and one in which I’m not sure I deserve.
Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for some special promotions associated with ordering those first copies from QVC. Things are about to get really, really exciting around these parts!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for being along on this journey that began nearly 4 years ago and just keeps getting better and better….and sweeter with every turn.
This book is specifically for YOU and I hope you love it as much as I have loved creating it.