- We're out of town every weekend, why not do it during the week?
- Mark takes his very expensive specialist wine course Monday nights, can you do it Tuesday?
- I babysit my new baby granddaughter every other Tuesday so my son and daughter-in-law can work on their marriage.
- Stewie and I are in couples counseling, we go Wednesday nights, how about on a Thursday?
- But I've gained 5 pounds and Thursday is one of my gym nights. I'd love to come on Friday.
- Tuesday doesn't work, we have opera/ballet/avant-garde theatre subscription every other Tuesday night.
- We go to a group cultural dinner Friday nights, would you like to join us? Or we could do it Sunday night?
- Oh, you didn't know, we're closing the business and moving to the Bahamas.
So having been asked repeatedly to change one dinner for 10 or 12 into 8 or 9 dinners for 4, 2 of whom need to be working each dinner, I tabled the project so that I would have plenty of time to sulk. Lately, though, I've been trying to feel festive and thought cooking for a group might help so I resuscitated the project. But I wanted to avoid the phone calls, so I thought I'd send around a calendar page where people could initial the nights they were available, I'd collate, and majority would rule. Of course I couldn't do this. So back to phone calls. I forgot about office parties, extra shrink sessions, other people's families, annual galas that require a week of preparation... Do you want to learn all the boring-to-awful details of the lives of your friends? Ask them to dinner. Do you want to learn about the psychic insides of your friends? Ask them to dinner. And do you want to know about the physical innards of your friends?
Yup, ask them to dinner.
The other issue that I've been pondering lately is why the same people who are so eager to tell you and anyone else within earshot that they are vegetarian, salt-free, vegan, gluten-free, lactose intolerant, fat-free, don't eat veal, egg-free, don't eat beef, don't eat carbs, don't eat poultry, don't eat this fish, don't eat that fish, don't eat t'other fish, don't eat that cuisine because of fear of the unknown - are offended when I explain that in my view dining out on sushi is economically inefficient because good sushi is astoundingly expensive by the time you get enough to eat, and less-than-really-good-sushi isn't worth doing.
If your chicken has to have a provenance, let me eat steak. And if you're dying to see us and catch up on how we've been, let's do it around a table, not at a counter. But if you deign to come to my house, and don't want to eat what's on the table, then bring a sandwich and don't make a big deal of it. And there is no lactose in cheese, I looked it up.
|that's what she said, right?|
I make an exception of course for religious proscriptions, and for those with truly life-threatening allergies. I don't want anyone struck dead at my dinner table, whether by lightening or by a peanut. Or by me if I've been slaving away all day and you've just had a revelation that all your troubles are caused by protein.
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