One day, in the middle of last week, I knew that I was going to be able to sleep in the next morning. My current definition of sleeping in is waking up any time after the sun rises high enough to pass a ray of light through one of my windows. Any one of them, I'm not picky. so long as I'm not leaving my house in the dark and driving to work passing party-goers making their final stop at the McDonald's drive-through. In celebration of that fact I invited a friend over for dinner with plans to take a walk and get ice cream afterwards. It was a simple evening, but we relished our taste of freedom and our bit of summer. I've been craving lazy summer days each time I see a block party or a wet-headed, pig-tailed girl riding a bicycle. But now is the time for surgery, and I have plenty of summers yet to live.
Our evening was simple. We introduced our pets and discovered that Zenith is scared of playful dogs. I heard him hiss for the first time ever, which made me a bit sad because he has never hissed at other cats. For dinner I made a salad and corn on the cob. Much of it was fresh from the farmer's market: the corn, butter with garlic scapes, tomato, cucumber, baby mustard greens and a soft buttery lettuce, tarragon white vinegar, sourdough bread. I don't usually peel cucumbers, but this time I did, and I added the peels to a pitcher of water and chilled it in the fridge. I chopped things up and made a dressing. I briefly boiled the sweet corn and slathered it with butter. I was having such a good time before my friend even arrived.
It made me realize how much I enjoy preparing food for other people. It can be a luxury to prepare a good meal for yourself, but there's something very special about creating a dish - even a basic lettuce & veggie salad - that you will share with somebody else. It makes peeling cucumbers, using up the very last tomato, or splurging on some fresh herbs all seem completely worthwhile. That food becomes a sort of offering, a gift, a poem, an expression of love and friendship, it says "I care about you. I will feed you tasty things."
I'm going to try to have people over for dinner more often. Or lunch, or brunch, or coffee, whatever my crazy schedule will allow. Let me know if you want to come, feel free to invite yourself, my kitchen is open. And I will definitely be throwing myself a birthday party next month - I can't wait to come up with the menu.