John Derian wants to bake bread in period garb

John Derian pouring wine for friends at dinner party
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Fall is nostalgia’s time to shine. As we make our pilgrimages back home to feast with friends and family, it’s hard not to get a little wistful. This week’s Five Questions is all about decoupage master John Derian’s favorite autumnal activities—both present and past.

1. Where do you wish you could throw your next Thanksgiving feast?

Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts is a living museum that re-creates rural life from the late 1700s. It would be fun to go with friends, wear the period clothing, and experience a life where everything was hard-earned and precious—making bread and pies, farming, so on. The houses there are beautiful and a little candlelight and a fire in the hearth would make it perfection. (Another beautiful living history museum is Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they serve a traditional New England Thanksgiving feast every year.)

2. Who would make the perfect +1?

I really just want to be with my boyfriend Stephen, because I love spending time with him. Otherwise, Samantha Stephens from Bewitched could be fun (maybe we could eat with the pilgrims in the 1600s!), Martha Stewart would appreciate it all (if it was beautiful and delicious, of course), or someone needy that would benefit from a hot meal.

3. What’s your favorite fall memory?

My birthday is not long after Halloween and every year my mom would string an apple to our kitchen door frame. With our hands behind our back, we would have to take a bite out of the apple in mid-air to win the coin that was placed inside. I don’t know why it stuck in my brain so much, but it’s led my love for all party games.

4. What’s your autumnal drink of choice?

There is nothing more delicious than a crisp glass of apple cider in season.

5. What’s your early exit strategy?

I think discreet quick goodbyes are best so as not to disrupt the rest of the party. Of course it’s ideal to say thank you to the host and goodbye to your friends, but there are moments when doing so will be too disruptive or put a damper on the rest of the party. In those cases, a quick email from the road saying ‘thanks’ and ‘had to go’ and ‘didn’t want to disturb,’ etc. is fine (but I think a text feels too immediate and jarring). My French friends call slipping out without saying goodbye an “English exit” and my English and American friends call it a “French exit.” Hm…

John Derian’s online collection for Paperless Post is available on Photo courtesy of Bon Appetit.