Friday night dinners

The other day, I read this wonderful article on Friday Night Meatballs and instantly fell in love with the concept. In a nutshell, the author has been opening up her home every Friday night and offering a family dinner.

Everyone is welcome – old friends, new friends, work friends, friends passing through town, etc. Guests can bring side dishes but it isn’t necessary. Dietary preferences are accounted for. The only rules are RSVP by Thursday night and they cap the guest list at 10 adults. She writes about how this has simple act has increased her sense of community and enriched all of their lives

In college, food has become far less of a communal activity for me. Of course, I still go out to eat with friends and we have tried to cook together as well, but it isn’t easy. “Entertaining” usually takes the form of a party or occasionally a potluck. I don’t think I’ve ever served dinner for more than a few friends. I love the idea of setting one night a week aside to enjoy good food with people I care about. It’s often hard for me to make time to see all the people I would like to see and I think it’s important to make my relationships more of a priority in my life.

The only question now is what to cook. The author and her husband make meatballs every week and I definitely see the appeal of having a regular dinner menu – as she points out, the cooking process becomes streamlined and you become a master at whatever you are making.

However, meatballs are far from my forte, and I can see myself getting bored with making the same thing every week. Friday Night Pasta seems like a good alternative – it’s cheap and allows me to vary the sauces depending on my mood, the guest list, and what is in season. We could do pasta salad or pesto with summer veggies when it’s warm and baked macaroni and cheese or lasagna as it cools down.

The weekly time commitment and cost are a little scary to me, but I believe this may be one of those things where what you get out is far more than what you put in.