Excerpt for my book Entertaining at Home. Outtake photos by Matthew Mead

While some people prefer eating in more formal spaces, Debbie Propst, former President of One Kings Lane, and her family gather in their breakfast nook for most meals. Nestled within a large kitchen and in close proximity to the butler’s pantry, it is a space that is both casual and sophisticated. It is also a favorite spot to assemble friends for a late breakfast on the weekends.

“The kitchen is where I am most comfortable,” Debbie admits, “and there is nothing I adore more than being surrounded by people I love.” Comfort is precisely what she found in her 1950s Cape Cod saltbox designed by Royal Barry Wills, a master of Cape Cod architecture and a noted author. And although Debbie was not specifically looking for a farmhouse property at the time, she felt at home the moment she stepped inside the Connecticut dwelling. Great bones, an abundance of character, and spacious rooms won her over.

Time spent abroad also shaped her cooking philosophy. In keeping with a European sensibility, the hostess often opts for boards of cheeses, fruit, pastries, nuts, prosciutto, eggs, a seasonal signature cocktail, and plenty of coffee and tea. For the first breakfast of autumn, she gathers a group of like-minded neighbors who have not yet met one another…

Apple Cider Mimosas

(recipes in the book)

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