Friday Night Sampler Platter Dinner and Dessert with Good Friends
Calamata olives from Greece - Tortellini from Italy - Italian style salami locally hand crafted in St. Louis - double gloucester cheese with chives - fontaine cheese - aged 8 year Wisconsin cheddar - chevre cheese with sundried tomatoes and herbs - cantaloupe wedges - organic gala apple slices - toasties - herb crackers - fig spread - ice water - wine.
The night was filled with, "try this with this and then put this on it..." At least at first. Then talk and laughter turned to food memories and other dining delights, then to the days happenings. And so it went, through dessert. No one's plates matched. Everyone used their fingers. Files I had been working on earlier that day were still on the table, just shoved aside out of our way. And it was perfect.
It really is so easy to have a relaxing evening, where dinner lasts a good while and is filled with all sorts of foods to taste, improvisation, conversation, and good friends.
People don't do it often enough, I think. Perhaps because It's so easy to get caught up in wanting everything looking perfect and like they have it all under control. Like serving means that they have to impress. But it's really not about that at all. It's not about how Martha Stewart you are, it's about offering your self and sharing with family and friends.
A good friend is not going to care how perfect your home is or isn't. Is not going to care if your presentation is just so, or not. A good friend just wants your company, wants to cherish some of life's moments with you. And sure, some great food offers a fabulous backdrop to all of that, but it can be just that, a backdrop, a mix and match, a cornucopia of life's pleasures and sustenance, better to be enjoyed with others when you can.
In the good old days, back when I was a kid and my grandparents were still alive, dinner always lasted a very long time, no matter whose house it was at. Dinner would start around 6 or 7 and would last until 8 or 9. Not because there was so much to eat, but because there was so much to say and so many people to dine with. Homes were open to friends and family. Kitchen cooking offered a variety of courses, leftovers were turned into something new, someone would bring along this food or that drink. And it all seemed to work out just fine. A table full of laughter and gossip. The more crowded and chaotic the better, it seemed.
These days I create those special dinner moments whenever I can. Although I lead a busy life filled with children, pets, work, never ending chores, and a limited budget, I find a way. There's no point in finding excuses of why not, there are too many reasons for finding excuses why you should.
Especially when it ends with this: