The weeks before the holidays are filled with a pleasurable sense of anticipation. For Martha, the buildup to her caroling party was much longer.
Finally, after two years of renovations, the Summer House, an 18th-century Colonial on her Bedford farm, was complete. The interior sparkled with golden wreaths and ornaments. And the music room, home to a new Steinway & Sons grand piano, was the centerpiece for this gathering of family and friends who love to sing.
Upon arrival, each guest was given a songbook, and soon the house filled with the exuberant voices of friends happy to be gathered around the piano on a crisp winter day. Between songs, the buffet beckoned with its own renditions of holiday classics: oysters on the half shell topped with shimmering mignonette gelee, crudites, teacups of winter-squash soup, pork potpies, and stuffed cabbages.
Another table offered Martha's signature eggnog, rich with cream and laced with rum, bourbon, and Cognac. There were dazzling cookies, a whipped-cream cake filled with mincemeat, and Christmas trees made of stacked white-chocolate stars.
"We sang, we ate, we sang some more, we ate some more," Martha says. "And then we took walks." Bundling up, the guests strolled through a dusting of fresh white snow, a pitch-perfect end to a fine, festive day.
Get the recipes for this menu. A little of this, a little of that! From oysters to buckwheat crepes and a beautiful country ham, Martha's Christmas brunch buffet includes specialty foods and plenty of fresh, seasonal citrus fruits.