Today's Q&A is with the always adorable and inspiring NumNum girls, A.K.A. Lisa Butterworth and Caroline Hwang. The two Brooklyn-based friends host an ambitious supper club and document their efforts on the NumNum Chronicles. Although we've never met, I felt an immediate dinner party kinship when I discovered their friendly, funny site. From creative cocktails to multi-course menus, they really know how to entertain. Here, they share some of their favorite menus and ideas. Thanks, ladies!
1. Name, occupation, and city
L: Lisa Butterworth, writer/editor, Brooklyn
C: Caroline Hwang, illustrator/artist, Brooklyn
2. When was the last time you threw a dinner party, and who was invited?
This past Saturday! We had six of our nearest and dearest friends over to test out a couple of recipes we’re including in an upcoming project (including the biggest steak either of us had ever seen!). The evening ended with a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit: Pop Culture edition, as all good dinner parties should.
3. What is the best menu you've ever made for company?
Since we’re both from California and rarely make it back to spend Thanksgiving with our families, we host an orphan Thanksgiving every year for our Brooklyn-bound friends. And hot damn, those menus are delicious. Last year’s spread included baked brie with cranberry-orange sauce, roasted acorn squash, cornbread chestnut stuffing, Brussels sprouts, turkey, mashed potatoes, Mississippi mud for dessert, and cranberry-ginger-gin punch.
4. What's your preference: wine, beer, cocktails?
L: Cocktails, for sure. Especially ones that involve gin.
C: Agreed, cocktails. They’re tasty little things that pack a punch.
5. What's your favorite dinner party soundtrack?
We like all varieties of music, from 60s R&B to riot grrrl to folk. Most of the time we like something that will give us a bit of a beat while we eat.
6. Some friends are coming over for a last-minute dinner. What do you make?
Pizza is our go-to crowd pleaser. The dough usually takes at least an hour to rise, but if we don’t have that kind of prep time, a pit-stop at our local pizzeria for some pre-made dough makes the dish easy as pie (ha!).
7. Do you usually cook everything yourself, or do you have help?
We usually like having help, it makes the meal feel like a group effort. Our kitchen isn’t very big and it gets real crowded real fast, but we always enjoy the company.
8. Do you ever buy store-bought food, or is everything on your table made from scratch?
We try to make everything from scratch, but we definitely make exceptions. Canned cranberry sauce, for instance, can not be made, and it’s a Thanksgiving must!
9. What do you like to serve for dessert?
We never met a cake, cookie, or piece of pie we didn’t like so we’ll serve just about anything sweet for dessert whether it’s ginger-rhubarb ice cream, a blueberry cream cheese tart, or good ol’ sugar cookies with buttercream frosting.
10. If you could invite anyone over for dinner (living or dead), who would it be?
L: I would love to gather four generations of my family’s women around the dinner table: my mom, my grandmothers (who are still alive) and my four great-grandmothers (two of whom I had the amazing pleasure of knowing). The gratitude I have for them is immeasurable.
C: My grandma, who is now passed away. Most of my childhood she would make my brother and I breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So in return, I would love to make her dinner to show her how much she inspired me and influenced my life.