It’s been five years since I moved back to the Durham region from Windsor, ON. It’s a bit strange for me to think about that because it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I lived there for only a year but it was formative. My friends and I built relationships in our kitchens, around our dinner tables resulting in food coma’s. It was great! We used to get together for dinner parties we called, “Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen”. We had 10-12 people sharing a kitchen trying to prepare their dishes all at the same time. It was massively chaotic, messy, fun and most importantly delicious!
I’ve missed those crazy Saturday nights eating, drinking, and being merry.
I look back on that year with fondness, knowing that time in my life was special. I’ve learned an important life lesson since coming back to the Durham Region and that is you can’t look back on the past and recreate it. It can’t be done. Like, I just don’t understand why my friends in Oshawa refuse to wear the same clothes and act the exact same way my Windsor friends do, sigh. You can only move forward with life and allow it to unfold the way that it does. That process is beautiful.
A few weeks ago good family friend’s came over for dinner. We planned it the day before, but I was looking forward to it anyways. We decided we were going to go to a grocery store together, split up, and pick out 1 ingredient we wanted to eat. That way we didn’t know what each other was picking so the dish would inevitably be unique. If you've ever watched the show Chopped on the Food Network, you'll have an idea of what we were aiming for. There was 5 of us so were only supposed to have 5 ingredients. Some of us couldn't follow instructions and picked up more than 1, myself included. We gathered bread crumbs, tomato sauce, Italian sausages, scallops, peppers, lemons, limes, beets, frozen apple pie, bacon, baguette, pasta, tomatoes, and a onion.
We came back to my place and I began to create. We all hung out in the kitchen talking, drinking wine, and sampling food as it cooked. It reminded me a lot of what, Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen, was like. A ton of fun and building better and stronger friendships around food. Cooking with friends is fun, regardless of how you do that.
This is how the menu worked out,
Scallop Ceviche with Beet and Pickled Squash Salad
Bacon Wrapped Italian Sausage with Sausage Bolognese pasta
Baked Apple Pie. (Caleb picked out a frozen apple pie because he wanted to be difficult. The problem was that it was frozen and wasnt going to thaw in time to recreate it... I left it as an Apple Pie)
Thankfully, Sarah, who isn't in any of the photo's because she took them all, is a talented photographer. She volunteered to document the event with pictures which I'm grateful for. She's amazing and has helped me with my own photography. Take a look at my Roast Chicken Leg post, she came over and gave me some helpful pointers about how to improve my own photography. She has her own photography business and you should hire her for your next family gathering, wedding, or photo shoot. She can do ANYTHING. Just look at this shot she took of my 6 month old niece! HOLY CRAP SHE'S CUTE! Check out her website http://sarahdefoa.wix.com/photography
This holiday season is the perfect time to do something different with your dinner parties. I recommend you give this idea a try and have fun with it. The worst thing that could happen is you have to order pizza.