Making Friends over Food

Michelle - Mason, Ohio
Entered on December 15, 2010

I believe in friendship forged over food. We have relocated many times to many states, and sharing meals has been the way we forge new and lasting friendships wherever we live. Even busy people find time to linger over a meal with friends. Meals encourage entertaining conversation, and can soothe tempers after heated and polarizing discussions. Food links us together in a chain that spans time and tradition.

I read somewhere that Jewish people are commanded to share their meals with others. While I am not Jewish, I think this is a very noble calling. I entertain though my house is not in order, without any planning or menu consideration, without advance notice, and I am known to serve an impromptu dinner party while in my pajamas. I have learned that no one comes to see the house, or to see me in my Sunday best. And while I believe that I can show my love for people by cooking from scratch, I also have learned that sharing a meal of take-out Chinese is just as wonderful as sharing a mock-Thanksgiving dinner that took all day to prepare. The sharing is the most important.

I cook for a family of four, and I have learned it is just as easy to cook for 6, or 8, and so many nights, I do. While often our friends and neighbors are delighted and grateful for the invitation, even sometimes feeling guilty because they do not reciprocate, I am honored and humbled to share my meal with those who share my life, my successes and defeats, and while my words fail to convey my deep thanks for their friendship, I believe a bowl of hot, saucy pasta consumed while sitting around my imperfect kitchen table shows them how much I care for them.

I am proud that my daughters never hesitate to invite someone to dinner, and though they are but 11 and 13 years old, they will make French chocolate mousse to encourage friends to linger for dessert. It’s just what we do.