Yesterday, we had some friends over for a beginning-of-the-week dinner party. They live in the dorms on campus, so we like to cook “real food” for them (as opposed to cafeteria food). A few minutes into the meal, someone said, “It feels so good to be in a home.” I cannot express how it felt to hear those words! P and I have invested a lot of time and effort into cozy-fying our home, so that was a wonderful reward.
These dinners have been one of the really lovely parts of early married life. We have our little routine: P and I choose a recipe and cook dinner together, and then about a half hour before everyone arrives, while he’s putting the finishing touches on the meal, I set the table, light lots of candles, and put on some music (yesterday’s soundtrack was The Avett Brothers’ album “I and Love and You”). And sometimes we have to run around the apartment, frantically putting away sweaters, socks, homework, books, and, if I’m honest, more books.
If we had a theme last night, it was “comfort food.” We made some decadent baked macaroni and cheese that contained a pound and a half of cheese(!); pumpkin cookies with lots of large, dark chocolate chips; and mugs of hot, mulled wine. The conversation was lively and the food was plenty (as were the food comas), which is how I like it.
The whole process—from choosing a recipe, to putting the last wine glass on the table, to cleaning up the crumbs after dinner—is one of my favorite life rituals right now. We’ve had friends over at least once a week: new friends, old friends, friends we haven’t seen in a long time. What a gift to be able to spend time with them, and to share a meal together. It’s how we say, “Thank you for being our friends. We appreciate you, and we love spending time with you.”
It’s the day after, and I’m still steeped in gratitude—for friends, and for this season of life.
(Dinner photo found here. Held by the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.)