Cooking with Friends

Who out there read the title in a morbid way – as in cooking with rice or cooking with legumes? Raise your hands. All of you now. I thought so. You are all so…morbid. That’s all right, I’m obviously raising my hand too. It’s nice not to be alone, to belong to a group even if it’s a…oh, that was just me? Well. Hmph. Whatever.

Recently, I gained the insight that a lot of people enjoy belonging to dinner groups. Because they do belong or have belonged to dinner groups. Before now I would have said the dinner group is an anomaly – an odd sort of grown up idea that could only apply to a select group of people. My parents and close family friends started one back in the days before I could drive. For over 14 years they have met to eat themed meals, drink wine, and gossip about their children. They were the anomaly.

Then, friends started speaking up, reminiscing about former dinner glories, talking about future dinner splendors.  I was reminded of a middle through high school friend that organized lunch and dinner groups while we were all still in high school. Wherever she is I suspect she is continuing the tradition.

I, on the other hand, while happy to occasionally participate have never sought out my own cooking group — I went to only one of each of the lunch and dinner groups during high school. The informal dinner party cooking with friends format is more my taste.

Not that this happens too often. Sure there are plenty of gatherings with lots of good food, but they are more separate ideas than a cooking together variety. Then, my friend and former roommate, Beth, said that while her boyfriend was on a business trip her plans included us getting together to cook dinner. I may have clapped my hands at the news.

Planning followed. When and what to cook? Should it be mushroom enchiladas or asparagus enchiladas or mushroom asparagus enchiladas with green chili sour cream sauce? I am not at all sure how we ended up with artichokes other than it had something to do with the tofu cream cheese spread Beth wanted to make and the flat bread I wanted to make to go with it.

Anyway, the point is that, the food was delicious and much more than we could possibly consume. Eating outside at a table is far more memorable than eating a meal on the couch in front of my TV. The evening after, I’m finishing my artichoke right now knowing that Beth finished hers this afternoon after grabbing just one leaf. I’m consoling the loss of the leftover flat bread and tofu cheese spread by adding fresh basil, mint, and tarragon to everything I eat.

It’s nice to belong to a group. A group you can laugh and drink and cook and eat with.

We are still planning the enchiladas.

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