Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dining out

I've eaten seven meals out in the last 10 days. Three meals were when I was out of town, but the other four have been at great local restaurants that I've managed to go two years without visiting. I've had some great meals and stepped outside of my usual menu picks.

Of course all this eating out means I have a lot of great produce going bad in my refrigerator. But it has inspired me to improve my zucchini fritter/cakes.

But I realized after dinner on Tuesday that all this eating out has given me a chance to catch up with friends and get to know new ones. Basically the same group has gone to three meals together, and at the first meal there were a few people I had only spoken with in passing or our prior conversations were limited to small talk. But over the course of three meals together, I've gotten to know people better and had some shared experiences that are worth retelling.

I've written about this before, but I grew up in a family that ate dinner together most evenings. We didn't eat in shifts or in front of the TV. We sat down together and talked to each other during dinner. I don't think I could pinpoint specific memories, but the kitchen table at my parents' house is what I think about when I think of my family and my experiences growing up. When I go home, I still love to sit at that table and talk with whoever finds their way in the kitchen.

Anyway, I was just reminded over the past week of how great it is to share a meal with others and have that community. Even though I've gotten pretty good at cooking for one, it's still more fun to share a meal with friends. And I think that's a good reason to put off cooking green beans another night.

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