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When married couple Emily and Drew Hecht dreamed up their entertaining company late last year, they had no idea that small outdoor gatherings would be all but the rule for seeing friends in 2020.
Many African American families in Georgia have roots in the Sea Islands, often expressed through food that revolves around seafood and rice and okra, which were introduced to the Americas from West Africa during the slave trade.
Maybe it's no surprise that when local fashion designer Abbey Glass entertains, she plans the party around the clothes.
There is dancing and general revelry, but eating is the core activity. The parade of meats roasting over open flames is impressive: a whole lamb on a spit, kondosouvli, lamb chops, and lamb fricassee. Greek dishes like spanakopita and dolmathes, plus an entire room of desserts, round out the feast.
We gathered around a platform of old planks, with burlap sacks scattered on the ground as seating. The sylvan tablescape included centerpieces made of moss, ferns, and foraged branches; scattered votives; and, of course, R. Wood Studio dishes in a variety of natural hues.
I love giving even the most casual event an exotic flair. Low-slung tables on top of layered Moroccan rugs transported guests to another place. I gathered arty props, including golden Moorish lanterns with delicate filigree cutouts, to decorate the table.