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Winter dinners

23 Feb

I had a dinner idea for tonight, based on a vague memory of something delicious my friends next door cooked a few weeks ago when I invited myself and a few neighbors over to their place to be wined and dined. Well, it happened that way in the end, though I started out just inviting my geologist neighbor and a few other women nearby experiencing a bitterly cold weather snap to share a glass of wine at one of our houses. So the geologist professor and her biologist professor mate, their daughters, and a woman from a few houses down came together for a delicious dinner, with cider and wine. Turned out the professors weren’t well acquainted with the other woman, so that was cool that they all learned more about her, mainly her journey dealing with breast cancer.

I drank wine with the geologist while the biologist cooked, and we sat in the cozy glow of excellent company and food for several hours before bundling up again to walk home in the frosty dark. I am so fortunate to have such neighbors. Later she invited me to her book club, so I’m getting out a lot more than I used to.

I was hosting my kids–three out of the four not having disowned me and still finding family time enjoyable. This time we did it adult-style, with all helping chop, set, wash, mix and set out the food. No more me having the entire meal ready and them showing up just in time to eat, and me being ready for a nap already after all the fuss (unaccustomed, as I don’t cook every day and eat a lot of the same things). The meal did have pasta and smoked salmon like the previous one, but was otherwise completely different, as I left out the capers and added sauteed onions, garlic and sweet peppers, threw in some seasonings and stirred in cream and Parmesan. It turned out to be delicious.

Afterward my youngest son did most of the cleanup–he surprises me daily (sometimes more than once–also today he walked down to the store and along with his own purchases, had bought me my favorite chocolate bar). Then he brought out the Apples to Apples and we spend another nice hour, everyone making an effort to be amiable and not indulge in irritating habitual quirks or take offense at anything. Again, adult style.

My oldest son mentioned he listened to Lydia McCauley a lot lately, so we pulled her up on the audio and relaxed into “The Beauty of the Earth,” all three kids agreeing that it brought back happy memories of waking up to those songs and her other albums when they were kids. I hadn’t realized the impact of that. But come to think of it, I had the same exquisite awakenings as a kid when my dad would play classical music records on Saturday mornings. She being local, we decided to see if we could catch a performance together soon. Then I saw my youngest off to his early bedtime, and my two oldest to their cars with some leftovers, their mail, and my love.

 

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