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A Family of Friends

If friends are the family you choose, Carla and Alex Edgeworth chose well. The eleven families in their Supper Club have been inseparable for more than a decade. And each summer they find themselves gathering at Lake Mitchell to celebrate true friendship.

Caroline Sain, Alyce Manown, and Amy Hartsfield catch up in the light-filled kitchen.

Caroline Sain, Alyce Manown, and Amy Hartsfield catch up in the light-filled kitchen.

Full house is quite an understatement when all eleven families of Supper Club gather—the Edgeworths, Sains, Hartsfields, Jennings, Douthits, Manowns, Garlingtons, Williams, Pipkins, Stoddards, and Kimbrells—including a current total of 27 children. So when Carla and Alex Edgeworth bought a house at Lake Mitchell—the third house on the lake for their Supper Club—they were thrilled that it would allow even more space for their family of friends to enjoy the group’s annual south-of-Birmingham summer gathering.

Supper Club began more than a decade ago, when Carla (not yet married to Alex) and Lindsay Jennings were new friends and decided to begin what they called ‘Cocktail Club’—a once-a-month gathering of friends. “It started out of necessity,” Melina Douthit says. “We needed to create our own community and family group. We had all recently finished college and moved to Birmingham to start our adult lives, with jobs, and spouses and some future spouses.”

Carla’s deft decorating savvy took her to flea markets, thrift stores, and discount chains like IKEA for items that could make a big impact on the space—not her bank account. “We were very frugal and yet I love how it turned out!” says Carla. “It’s like a breathe of fresh air every time I walk in."

“We rotated who would host,” Carla adds. “As the club grew and babies were born, we turned it into Supper Club and the host family provided a main course—and cocktails, of course—and we all brought sides.”

From the beginning, Carla says, “the lake—then hosted at the Jennings’ house—was a special treat and became a whole weekend get-away instead of one evening together.” Today, the group spreads out among three homes—the Jennings, the Hartsfields, and the Edgeworths—when they gather at Lake Mitchell. Sarah Pipkin says, “The lake is a great weekend because our busy schedules don’t allow for us to get together as often as we used to, and some families no longer live in Birmingham. I look forward to that weekend because we can all hang out, catch up, and our kids have a blast!”

Despite being in the perfect location, the Edgeworth home wasn’t exactly what Alex and Carla were looking for in a lake house. In fact, Carla says they fell in love with the lot—and lucked into the house not being a total disaster. As a full-time mom, Carla takes on clients as a part-time decorator, but she finds her time at the lake more rewarding—especially since she’s revamped the interiors of the not-so-perfect lake house. “There are now two bedrooms and two baths,” Carla says. “One room is large enough for two queens and a bunk bed; the other bedroom has a king bed.  We also have a sleeping porch with two twins, a queen blowup bed, and two sofas. For such a little cabin, we can sleep a lot of people.”

The décor is mix of treasures found at flea markets, thrift stores, and Goodwill—classic and welcoming, but in modern lake house style. With Carla’s deft hand, “The lake house feels like a breathe of fresh air,” she says.  “It’s just simple and casual and so is life down there.” Carla says that life on the lake is all about family and their family of friends. “I hope our kids will remember that when we’re there, there’s nothing else that needs to get done: no work, no schedule, no ‘Hold on a minute.’ Its just pure family fun.”

The Supper Club family provides that fun at least one weekend each summer. “No matter which way our lives take us, with kids’ activities and new friends, we will always have our friends from Cocktail Club,” Amy Hartsfield says. “We will forever have that bond.”

ABOVE Carla Edgeworth, Sarah Pipkin, Lindsay Jennings and Melina Douthit relax in the window-lined living room as Ford Douthit grabs a hug from Mom.
 

  

ABOVE LEFT Homeowner and decorator Carla Edgeworth says her Lake Mitchell home is a humble mixture of flea market and thrift store finds that she gave new life. “Seriously! I paid $50 for the dining chairs,” she says.  

ABOVE RIGHT The Edgeworths made a few changes to their lake house to make it function better for their family: They expanded a half-bath into a full bath and opened up the floor plan by taking down one living room wall and enlarging the opening into the kitchen. 
 

ABOVE The eleven couples of Supper Club have a combined 27 children—20 of them boys!
 

Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders

This recipes is courtesy of The Pioneer Woman (thepioneerwoman.com).

2 pounds ground meat (beef, bison, turkey)
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1 whole large onion, diced
½ cup whiskey
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup jarred jalapeno slices (more to taste)
12 whole slider buns or dinner rolls, split

1. Form the meat into 12 (or so) miniature patties and salt and pepper them on both sides.
2. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the patties until just about done in the middle, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
3. Remove the patties from the skillet and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of grease, then return the skillet to the stove.
4. Throw the diced onions in the skillet and stir to cook, about 3 minutes. Pour in whiskey (be careful if you’re cooking over an open flame; turn it off momentarily to be extra careful) and stir.
5. Allow the whiskey to reduce by half, about 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in jalapenos and the barbecue sauce.
6. Reduce the heat to low and place the patties in the barbecue sauce, turning to coat. Allow the patties to simmer in the sauce until everything’s hot and bubbly.
7. Place the patties on individual buns and be sure to spoon extra sauce (with the jalapenos!) over the top of each one before topping with the other half of the bun.

Pimiento Cheese

This easy dish is Alyce Manown’s family recipe. Serve the cheesy concoction with an assortment of crackers for an easy snack the kids will love on a busy day. 

2 lbs sharp cheddar cheese
1 (7oz) can pimientos
½ bottle Durkee’s dressing
1 pt mayonnaise
2 T lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
½ tsp Worcestershire
½ tsp red pepper
3 cloves crushed garlic

1. Mash pimientos with a fork. Add Durkee’s, red pepper, garlic. Blend in mixer.
2. Add grated cheese and beat until well mixed and smooth.
3. Chill and serve. Makes about 2 quarts.

Sweet Salsa 

This tasty recipe is a porch favorite.

2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 cans shoepeg corn (drained and rinsed)
8 oz feta
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (very important...do not use olive oil...yuck!)

Mix together and let sit over night in the refrigerator before serving. Best served with frito scoops! Any time the girls get together, they always assign someone to bring Nabeels hummus and chicken salad and homemade pita chips from the Piggly Wiggly.

  

Alex’s Stout Margarita

Patron (Tequila)
Patron orange liqueur
lime juice
Stirrings Simple Margarita mix

Mix to desired strength.

Alyce’s Missionaries

1 can frozen lime-aid
1 can full of rum
ice
handful of mint leaves

Toss in some strawberries and blend!

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