Nearly every Sunday evening throughout 2009, we opened our home to all for dinner. It wasn’t a dinner party. It wasn’t a pot luck. It was just us, having dinner, and feeding anyone else who cared to join us.
We just asked that people RSVP by Saturday at noon, then show up hungry at 6 on Sunday. If they wished, they could bring their preferred beverage. If they didn’t feel that was enough, they could bring flowers. But we had the food covered.
Some Sundays we had only one or two guests, some weeks we had 20. Many were regulars, others came only once or twice. Friends brought friends, and they became our friends, too. The meal was served by 6:15, and most guests were gone by 8:30 (it was a school night, after all.)
It was a lot of work, but it was so worth it.
After the noon head count, I would shop on Saturday afternoon and cook for most of the day Sunday, while my husband cleaned the house and set up the buffet table. I usually served a meat and vegetarian main course, a bunch of sides, and two or three desserts. It was always food that would work as leftovers, if it didn’t all get eaten.
Yes, it was a lot of work, but I loved it. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, so it wasn’t a chore. As we relaxed together after the meal, the contentment was palpable. Sometimes there was a singalong, or word games, or shoulder massages. Always there was laughter. This couple of hours spent with friends, nurturing them with delicious food and in turn receiving their warm companionship, became the highlight of my week.
As the year ended, my husband and I decided to discontinue weekly Sunday dinners in 2010. We both wanted to spend our Sundays doing other things, especially being outdoors. We considered making them monthly, but settled on an ad-hoc announcement instead, whenever the occasion seemed right.
The connections remain.
The new friendships that were forged during our year of Sunday dinners remain, and the old ties are strengthened. In these days of Facebook and Twitter communications, breaking bread together, especially in the home environment, seems more special than it ever did. It’s easy to write “Happy Birthday” on someone’s wall, but much more fun to serve their favorite dessert in person (yes, we’ve put candles in baklava!)
Hmmm … I think I need to invite some friends over for dinner. Would you like to come?
Hashi Meltzer, an Australian living in Los Angeles, loves to paint, cook, sew, hike, travel, camp, and hang out with friends. You can follow her adventures at her blog, hashiworks.