Contributing Writer
Vicki McGraw
Elegant Edibles Catering


Well, friends, the Christmas frenzy has begun! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, as I hope you all did. We stuffed ourselves silly, enjoyed the warm company of family and friends, and had our traditional Thanksgiving night viewing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”. Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving in our house like laughing at Clark Griswolds’ antics!

Now that we are about to turn the calendar to December, the special holiday events have begun to fill our agendas. My catering calendar is full of parties and celebrations that I have been asked to provide food for. Everything from breakfast to late night snacks will be on my to-do list for the next few weeks. Over the last twenty years I have seen a variety of changes in menus, venues and guests. I have had the pleasure of watching families grow up in front of me (my own children being in the forefront of that evolution!). And I have seen the changes in the market place as well. We are so fortunate to live in a place where almost anything we desire is seemingly at our fingertips!

Food is no longer simply sustenance but it is almost art. Walk into any supermarket and look around at the beautiful displays of fresh food. As I frequently say, we eat with our eyes first, so if it looks good, we are far more likely to purchase it. Fresh ingredients are available, but now we also find freshly prepared gourmet meals ready to simply heat and eat. No need to waste time in the kitchen prepping when you can buy dinner table-ready. The same can be said for “party foods”; you can now walk into the market with a list and walk out with everything ready to serve. Even disposable dishware has evolved into a thing of beauty! Plain old paper plates are a thing of the past. Disposable dishes that look like china and silver plastic utensils add to the elegant table we can set. No longer do we need to spend days shopping, prepping and doing dishes in preparation for a two hour event. A great supermarket and well-designed shopping list will make for effortless entertaining. And when all else fails, I can recommend a really great caterer!

In the hustle and bustle of our harried lives, short cuts can be a saving grace. My advice for you this week is to take a minute when you can to remember that one of the best gifts that can be not only given but also received is that of time. I believe that while doing things yourself is great, sometimes taking a short cut is the best gift you can give yourself!


  • 1 can whole water chestnuts
  • 1 lb cooked bacon strips
  • ½ C barbeque sauce

Drain and rinse water chestnuts. Wrap each chestnut with a strip of bacon, securing with a toothpick.

Bake at 400* for 10 minutes, until bacon is crisp. Drizzle with barbeque sauce and return to oven for 5 minutes.

Serve warm.

To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.