By the time Sunday evening rolls around, I generally have a hard time jettisoning myself from my house. It’s not that I’m a hermit or shut-in or that I hate having fun (although my dearly beloved will testify that I am, generally speaking, no fun), it’s that I want to enjoy what little time I have at home. This is a character flaw on my part, but I’m half-heartedly working on it. Cue last night. Bobbi and I had tentative plans for going out for a round of ping pong or having an early dinner at olive and june, but neither happened. Instead, I convinced Oscar and Bobbi to come to our house for dinner. I had some things in the refrigerator that I wanted to use up, but the more honest version of me snitches the truth: I didn’t want to shower, so it just seemed a lot easier to lure them to the house with the promise of a home-cooked meal.
I am a proponent of cooking for people that you love. Not ornate dinner parties, not strange experimental meals–although I’ve been known to do that to people and then wind up taking them out for dinner–but just friends coming over and sharing a meal together. The house need not be immaculate (heaven knows mine never is, but you try for perfection with an eight-month-old Eleanor), you don’t need to serve four courses, and you don’t need to be fancy, you just need to be you. Your friends love you for a reason, and I sincerely doubt that it is because your chocolate souffle is a risen perfection.
Frittata and whole-wheat toast. That is what I had on hand last night, and that is what we ate. The frittata was dead simple: bacon, mixed greens, bell pepper, potato, onion, and garlic with the good farmers’ market eggs and about five tablespoons of Gruyere cheese. Bobbi brought a bottle of prosecco, and once that was gone, we started to drink Duvels out of the champagne glasses. Miss Manners, we read thee not, but I have drunk to your health at dinner tables past.
My cooking is not relegated to just life here in Austin. I also cook for the vet-clinic staff meetings when I’m up each month. I make lunch, and we all eat together while discussing the business at hand. It’s the one tangible way that I can show them how much I appreciate the work that they’re all doing. Last time up I made bison-lentil chili and brownies. Before that it was a couple of Costco casseroles. And here’s a safety tip: if you ever come into the clinic and see a group of women around a pan of brownies, back away slowly. It’s pretty much a guarantee that we went all Mutual-of-Omaha/wild-kingdom on that brownie pan and there is nothing left in there but a few crumbs. Back away slowly, and tell no one what you saw.
Community starts at the dinner table, or in our case, around the exam-room table. If the best thing that I can contribute to the work we do is lunch, then I’m happy to do that. And should you find yourself in my neighborhood or at the vet clinic around lunch time, I’ve always got a bit extra in case. I’m a charter member of the more-the-merrier club.