Monday, May 18, 2009

No more excuses!

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.


Lora said...

I had such a great time down there! I don't think that there's been a day gone by since that I haven't talked about it!

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

Great post!! I participate in my own Wed Spaghetti but might shake it up this week and cook something different!!

M.J. said...

I'm glad you had fun Lora! When you visit next, we will have to go to DC for bourbon stout at the District Chophouse. Yummy!

Heather-Anne said...

What a great sounding month! Your a girl after my own heart, I like to spread my celebrating around too. Happy belated! I hope sometime we can all celerate together again.

Lizzi said...

Your Scrumptious Saturdays truly do sound scrumptious. Especially your not so elaborate salad. Your birthday month sounds fun...that's the way to enjoy it.

susan said...

I love the idea of a birthday month! I've always felt like there was too much pressure on that one little day to get in the necessary amount of celebrating :). Your Israeli menu sounds divine!

Under the Influence said...

I try to host something at my house at least once a month to guarantee that my house gets cleaned/straightened at least once a month!

Under the Influence said...

I'm trying to reach Lora, who sent me an invite to contribute to Wednesday Spaghetti. I signed on and am now following, but I don't know how to contact her to find out about posting - do I just slap up a post or do you have a schedule, etc? Thanks!

Tracy said...

We do a monthly cooking club (the husbands call it 'leftover club' because they have to fend for themselves) with several girlfriends of mine. Each girl gets to pick her own theme and make the main dish when she hosts, and everyone else is on rotation for side dishes, bread, drinks, and, of course, dessert! We always have a blast :)

I think it's great that you're using your hospitality gifting and bringing people into your home. I find that my lack of a desire to clean stops me from doing that as much as I'd like.

I love that you had a birthday month! I'm kind of like that too, I love to have a big deal made out of the fact that I'M HERE! lol. My birthday is next month and we're renting a house on acreage next to a big state park and making a big weekend out of it with friends. I'm excited!

Cute blog, keep it up!

God's Not Finished With Us Yet... said...

Mmmmm, spaghetti sounds so good right now; haven't had it in a loooong time. Anywho, I'm from MBC, just following ya back. Thanks. Love the moral of your blog; it's awesome and soooo important!