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Fun and functional Patience Brewster table

Fun and functional Patience Brewster table

Her ornaments adorn your trees at the holidays, so why not extend the whimsy of Patience Brewster by MacKenzie-Childs into warmer weather? Let the Speckled Chicken collection of fun and functional tableware set the scene for an it’s-almost-summer celebration.

In fact, Patience has a suggestion for the perfect party theme that unites chickens and eggs without wondering which came first: an egg-based brunch where you serve everything eggs, including eggs Benedict, quiches, egg strata, egg salad finger sandwiches or avocado toast with eggs.

Says Patience, “My summer parties are usually birthday or wedding and anniversary parties. Those are perfect for the (Speckled) Chicken as she is an emblem of the circle of life.”

The Speckled Chicken collection began with the Patience Brewster Speckled Chicken Display. She’s a whimsical feathered friend, wearing pearls and red party shoes. Inspiration for her and the rest of the collection, which includes the Speckled Chicken Teapot, Mugs, Salt and Pepper Shakers, and Canape Knives, came from her father’s chickens.

“My dad loved his chickens, often Guinea hens with their polka-dot feathers and Booted Bantams with their spotted bodies,” says Patience. “The Speckled Chicken Display was inspired by a particularly regal fat hen with a bit of a bossy personality. My Speckled Chicken and mugs are based on her.”

Standing in for a floral centerpiece on the brunch table or displaying an egg-cellent egg creation could be the Patience Brewster Rose Loves a Party Cake Plate. Like the Speckled Chicken, it began as another product—a pig ornament—and it also has an interesting story that inspired it.

“The inspiration for her was pretty literal,” says Patience. “It happened in Mexico, where they love their parties, holidays, and traditions honoring life and death. There had obviously been one especially ornate celebration at a small stucco church, where a happy pig resided in the backyard. The abundant pink and orange floral decorations had served their purpose and were tossed to the pig who sat right in the middle of a huge pile of roses and marigolds munching on them one by one!”

With that party tale setting the scene, let’s get ready for a Speckled Chicken celebration. Here’s a recipe for egg strata, an easy and yummy make-ahead breakfast casserole that combines eggs, bread, cheese, and bacon.

Like its cousins, the quiche and bread pudding, the strata has endless variations. It can be made with almost any firm bread, enhanced with vegetables, meat, and cheese, and flavored any way you like. And as with French toast and bread pudding, the strata is a good use for bread that has become a bit dry.

Easy Egg Strata

Ingredients

4 slices dense white or wholegrain bread
4 eggs
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon dried thyme or oregano leaves
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Place bread in a single layer in a greased 8-inch square baking dish. (You can also cube the bread.)
  2. Beat eggs, milk, and thyme in medium bowl until blended; pour over bread. Refrigerate, covered, at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove strata from refrigerator; uncover and let stand while oven heats. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake about 5 minutes longer until cheese is melted and strata is puffed, golden, and firm in the center.

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