Tuesday, February 5, 2019
I’m not going to lie. My friends are really, really good cooks. If you’ve been following my articles over the years you will know this already. We started having pot luck dinner parties (at least once a week) 30 years ago. In the beginning we had what we called “left over nights” and people brought what they had. Then kids started coming and for a while we met once a week at a local restaurant, and we still do that sometimes. Gradually we all just kept cooking good food and our pot lucks just got more and more delicious.. Some of us are currently egg, gluten, dairy or sugar free. Some only eat meat and vegetables and some are vegetarians. We’re good at working around everyone’s needs and we all really enjoy learning and experimenting. I personally specialize in soups and salads. Other specialize in Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, Cajun, Raw, Greek, Italian, Vegan etc. A lot of love has gone into our meals over the years and we have thousands of stories that have been shared. What I love most about our gatherings is that never any pressure. People always appreciate whatever is brought.
I was listening to radio noon on CBC last week and the call in show was about a movement called “crappy food.” The theme of the discussion was that the most important aspect of a dinner party is the sense of community and the friendship and conversations that happen. More about the experience, less about the food. The users of the “crappy food” movement suggest that if people get too caught up in preparing the perfect house and meal, the event becomes stressful and less likely to happen. And that is just no fun. They suggest that it is ok to serve simple meals and really just ensure that the bathroom is clean. The rest of the house should look lived in, especially if there are kids. I think my friends and I have been ahead of our time with this. Our houses are often messy and our food can be really simple and delicious. Of course there are situations when people have more time and prepare something more gourmet. It is always received with love, whatever is made.
My friend’s mother “D” taught us a great lesson a few years ago. D makes “chip salad” for her grandchildren when they visit. 3 bags of chips mixed together in a bowl. We started copying that tradition and so for example, today Jim and I are travelling to pick up Madeline up from her weekend visit to Queen’s. We have no time cook for the Super Bowl party that will happen tonight. Everyone understands and doesn’t expect us to bring anything. This is where the chip salad comes in. Easy. Loved. And what is especially great is that I stopped to get gas and came across a brand of spicy chips from Mexico! Hot pepper and lime chips. I can’t wait to share with them with everyone. I know they will be a hit! And they will fit perfectly with the chili and salads that are being served. Long live the chip salad and the pot luck dinner!