"Ya know, we need to get together more often!"?
Something always seems to come up, especially when children are involved, which precludes planned events.
Our friend, Dana, aka DB, called recently and said,
"You guys need to come out and have a glass of wine."
It had been a while since Lisa and I saw 'Date Night' on our last date night, so, we leapt at the opportunity to be with other adults.
We drove south to the Charbonneau area of Wilsonville. I love the drive because when I cross the Willamette river there at the Boone Bridge, I feel I'm officially in 'the country.' Hand-painted signs for produce, cider and Freedom dot barbed-wire fences while my eyes always strain for the open door of a barn, providing a peek at an old pickup that needs me.
A series of right-angle turns puts us out on a gravel road with a wheatfield on one side and a filbert orchard on the other. Just past the pastured llamas, we arrive at Dana's house tucked between several Doug Firs. DB meets us before we hit the door with hugs and smootches all around.
Her slobbering dog, Dave Berry, greets us with, well, slobber.
"Come in, come in...it's sooo great to have you guys out here!" Dana always makes you feel like you're the only person on the planet, she is so warm and gracious.
"Let's get some wine opened... or would you like something else?" She gets us set on bevvies as we start talking about kids. Hers are off on adventures and so are ours. Reminds me of the fashion bumper stickers of years ago, but, ours would say..."Boston-Vietnam-Corvallis."
"I hope you guys are OK with kind of a light, grazing dinner," our hostess pleaded, "It's just so hot out, I thought we'd just keep it light."
We sat at the the kitchen table and took the Lazy Susan for a spin. It was all there: Fruit, Veggies, Cheeses, Cured Meat, killer Bread and Balsamic/Olive Oil for dipping.
'Boy-likey,' I'm thinking.
I learned long ago that when 'foodies' are together, the gloves come off regarding standard decorum. If you like blanched green beans, don't feel required to a limit of three. If gorgonzola is your gig, cut off a slab. Need a turn or two of fresh cracked black pepper? Twist and shout!
Eating with gusto is like writing with adjectives; it embellishes and heightens the sensory experience.
"Is this OK for you guys...?" Dana asked, "I mean I could get some more stuff out..."
I shot her the Look through the eyebrows and Lisa concurred,
"This couldn't be better! It's light with a variety of colors and textures, salty/tangy/sweet. It's perfect!"
"Here's to good friends," someone said as we clinked glasses.
We talked some more and finally hit our limits. Then my phone rang, it was our eldest.
"Siobhan is still crying. She hasn't stopped since you left. She's like crazy-crying now."
Lisa instructed Patrick to load her up and take the 20 minute drive out to The Country.
Profuse apologies to our hostess were dismissed with a "That's what kids do."
Patrick and Bonnie arrived in time to have dessert. What gathering would be complete without a spill, too! It took all of 3 minutes for Siobhan to find a beverage and tip it over.
"Oops, Mom...this spilled. It gots spilled on the floor. Come here kitty, lick it up," our daughter called to the cat, Mr. Betty. Years ago, Dana's kids thought the stray was a girl, named it, then upon a vet visit found evidence to the contrary. That's kind of a microcosm of good parenting skills: ya get lemons, make lemonaid. Everything can either get fixed or adapted, hence, the 'Mr.'
Good cooking skills sometimes require little cooking, just common sense.
Dana showed us a wonderful meal full of variety, flavor and color. Nutritionally, it was a smash hit as well; plenty of dietary fiber (veggies), calcium (soft cheeses), vitamin C (fruit), iron (meat) and grains (bread). It touched all the bases.
I believe they call that a home run.
This was so good, we did the same thing the following week at home with our kids.
We sat on the back deck one evening, busted out the hummous, raw veggies, meats, cheeses and great bread. Our kids LOVED it! It was all finger food, we ate at a more leisure pace and spent more time together talking.
Time together at the table. It sounds so simple and insignificant, yet, even our children would agree it is some of the best times in our lives.
So, get out there to Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's or whatever and build a deli-meal of finger foods. Set a budget, first. It can get a little out of hand when you start piling on the cheeses.
Our thanks to an inspirational foodie friend, Dana Berry--Great Ideas!
Luv ya, mean it!
Take care, God bless and remember:
"Food, Faith, Family and Friends,
the Best Things in Life Aren't Things!"