Apparently, mid-February is a good time for a mimosa brunch. With most of our friends being older and less excitable over Valentine’s Day propaganda, the day off work provided by past presidents serves as well as any to bring friends together to use up an abundant orange crop.

Living within the Huanglongbing (HLB), or citrus greening, quarantine area complicates things just a little bit. The oranges themselves are beyond perfection – sweeter and juicier than any store-bought variety. But the potential for disaster is there and must be addressed. Especially because so many people would love to take oranges home with them – and I am eager for them to do so – the oranges must be thoroughly scrubbed and all stems and leaves removed before they can be transported out of the quarantine. This may sound excessive, but an infected tree is a dead tree.

This means picking and scrubbing oranges is task No. 1 the day before our little soiree. Of course, there are all the normal party-ish preparations: vacuuming, cleaning up after the dogs and chickens, put away clutter, scrubbing the bathrooms, dusting, and creating a menu.

The menu. That’s probably why you started reading this post. To tell you the truth, I don’t have a lot of energy or interest in creating anything extensive. At the same time, it is important to have plenty of food to absorb some of that alcohol. A quick browse through the kitchen and pantry provide me with some clues:

  • The hens are laying again, so deviled eggs and a frittata
  • An open jar of green olives
  • A fresh jumbo loaf of bread made yesterday and stored in an airtight plastic container, plus
  • Several homemade jams and jellies 

A fruit salad is always quick and easy, and a bag of those protein, salt, and fat infused little smokies will make short work of the shopping list. Guests can BYOBottle of chilled sparkling wine or champagne and I should be set.

Of course, the food isn’t the real reason for the gathering. It’s all about the people. The clan. The tribe coming together to reconnect, to strengthen bonds, to laugh at and with each other, to swap stories, to offer shoulders.

A happy wife might make for a happy life, but good friends will get you through anything.