Last night we hosted a lovely dinner for some good friends. Not one “set” of friends but a wide mixture that didn’t know each other that well. My mother-in-law dropped in unexpectedly too and it was lovely to be able to say “do you want to join us?” and know there’d be plenty of food. We didn’t invite so many people that we had to bring out a second table - a total of nine (including two infants). Someone asked why we were doing this and Janine summed it up perfectly “James felt like cooking.”
I picked a recipe that required baking so I could visit with guests instead of being in the kitchen until the last minute. I spent a lot of time Saturday shopping and planning. I spent a lot of Sunday cleaning, cooking and chopping. I also watched three episodes of television. Janine was a great help both in the kitchen and later keeping Nathan away from me while I worked.
Food is more than nutrition and health. It’s an ancient rite of community bonding. I give thanks that we have friends to join us. The conversation’s a bit awkward since nobody knows everyone that well. Awkward conversation just means your at the beginning of something and it’s better than none at all or the same conversation a hundred times over. Friendships and family are meaningful things and time spent building them is worthwhile. I miss going for coffee on a Friday night but these days it’s just simpler to merge families for an evening or more and enjoy each other’s company.
I want to start a tradition of Sunday dinners. Historically, if supper guests were either one family/friend or else a huge production number where we invite practically everyone we know and do a huge barbeque (feeling guilty if we missed someone). A few months back a Sunday dinner happened by accident and it was a small mixture of a different people. Something felt right about this middle way and I knew I wanted to do it again.
It’s not healthy to spend so much time focused on fixing all the bad stuff. A better approach is finding the bright spots, the times and activities that feel right, and doing more of that. Now that I think about it, going for “coffee” every Friday night with friends was similar... we all ate together or sipped ice tea while others ate. We talked and laughed and there were definitely coffee regulars but new people would come and go. If we tried to do a coffee now, it would require half the restaurant because there’s a lot more spouses and children then there used to be. Homemade tastes better anyways.
Food is more than the nutritional and chemical composition and how it affects our digestive tract. It enriches our souls with it’s ability to bring us together. To pull us out of our respective blogging caves, put down the mobile phones, stare across the table and think shit, what the hell should I say next?Ummm.....
We started praying a while back. I like it more for the ritual of giving thanks than a specific religious belief. I’m still a bit timid in what I say around guests but when it’s just my immediate family it’s an excuse we both use to also say whatever’s in our hearts. Sometimes it’s serious and solemn and sometime it’s “Rubba-dub-dub-n-thanks-for-the-grub”. Just a tiny moment spent thinking of the farmers, the truck drivers, the grocery clerks, the stock boys, the cook, whoever set the table and whoever cleans the dishes. Bless the hands that brought this food before us. Bless the people with whom we break bread.