There are a million excuses for losing touch with your friends. “I’m too busy.” “We’re on different schedules.” “We live too far apart.”
Wednesday Spaghetti seeks to put an end to these excuses and to bring friends together over a nice, warm meal. What a simple, yet novel concept!
Since I can rarely make it up to Philly for Wednesday Spaghetti at Lora’s house, I started my own tradition called “Scrumptious Saturday!” My dinners differ from the original Wednesday Spaghetti idea in that I do Saturdays instead of Wednesdays since I don’t get home until 6:30 p.m. on the weekdays, and I don’t serve pasta. Instead, I cook a meal based on a theme that I choose.
Cooking is a passion of mine, so I love having an excuse to spend all day in the kitchen and to try new recipes. Jack usually serves as my “Sioux chef,” so cooking gives us an opportunity to spend some quality time together.
Also, having a weekly “dinner party” motivates me to keep my house clean. It’s not a feeling of obligation. I know my friends don’t care if there’s cat hair on the stairs or a pile of dirty towels outside the bathroom. It’s just that I want my house to be a comfortable and cozy place, especially when I’m opening my home to friends.
My first ever Scrumptious Saturday! had an Israeli theme. I made falafel and hummus from scratch, as well as Israeli salad, sour cabbage and labenah. I spent a total of 8 hours in the kitchen that day! Christine and Emily, new friends from my trip to Israel, and Alena, a friend since childhood, joined me for dinner that night. Alena brought her husband Melvin and little Andy, their toddler son. Andy wasn’t up for the Middle Eastern food, but Melvin certainly put a hurtin’ on the labenah!
Perhaps even more popular was taco night. I scoured the local Hispanic shops for hand-made tortillas. I made pineapple salsa, molidos, gallo pinto and mojitos using the mint from my herb garden. My friends Natasha, Kaki and Eddie hit it off, which was nice. Eddie brought her two little ones, Sofia and Isabel. Isa crawled around on the floor, while Sofia “watered” the papier-mâché Mexican flower I had given her to play with.
The past three Scrumptious Saturdays were part of my month-long birthday celebration. (Yes, I get a whole month!) The first weekend, Lauren and Matt, a couple of my Philly friends,came to Charm City to help me celebrate. I didn’t make dinner since it was my birthday, but we did plenty of drinking! Lauren, Matt, Jack and I hung out until the wee hours of the morning talking about the past, present and future.
The next Saturday, Kaki, Emily and Christine met me at Dukem, an Ethiopian restaurant in downtown Baltimore. We tried Ethiopian beer and ordered from a menu we couldn’t decipher. It was so much fun! We ate with our hands and speculated about which dish was which.
Lora and Nadine came down from Philly last Saturday for the final b-day celebration. My friend Monica also joined us. I didn’t make an elaborate meal—just a salad with strawberries, walnuts and feta cheese. We drank gin with lemonade and chatted while sitting around my dinner table. Then we went to “the bar” and had some more cocktails and good conversation. I hadn’t seen Nadine in three years, so it was nice to catch up. Monica headed home around midnight, and the three of us girls stayed up chatting until almost four in the morning. The next day, Nadine went home and Lora and I walked to Fells Point for brunch. We talked about everything and nothing all at once. That’s the beauty of good friends. You can go from serious to silly and from meaningless to deep conversations. You can be open and honest and can pick up right where you left off, no matter how much time has passed.