What’s for Dinner?


We are having dinner guests tonight.  Much as these family members gathered together many, many years ago, with most of them now departed, we are having “family” of a sort to dinner tonight.  And each will sit and bring a spirit or two from their own families to the table.

We are who we come from, as I wrote in an earlier post, and so, it’s fun to see who our friends bring to the table.  Whose mannerisms are those, and who taught you to hold your spoon like that?  Did you all say grace before eating?  Who was the one to say it?  Did you drink wine?  Or did you drink water from a metal pitcher from the old Kelvinator Fridge?

We are having pasta night.  Simple, flavorful and filling fare.  My spaghetti I learned from my mother-in-law, it’s a Bohemian style spaghetti recipe, believe it or not, that she got from her mother-in-law, Lucy.  Over the years, I’ve switched some of the dry spices to loads of fresh, I’ve been tweaking it a lot, and hubby says it’s better than his mother’s (sorry, Mom) and every wife loves to hear those words!  Seriously.  My mother-in-law is an amazing cook and she taught me everything I know, I love her so much for that.  But, it’s still nice to leave her in my culinary dust every now and then.

Maybe that will be the talk of the evening, and evoke the images of a new bride and her mother-in-law making their own pasta, hanging it on hangers around the house to dry, and then simmering sweet and sour spaghetti sauce for hours, and about an hour or two in, start dipping in crusty french bread until we’re too full to eat at supper time with the pasta.

Other stories might be that some never learned to cook, or went to culinary school, or their idea of cooking is picking up something on the way home from work?  Maybe it was frozen pot pies and Daddy’s Famous Hot Dish that was often the fare of the day at our house growing up, and slugged down with an ice-cold Pepsi.

For who they are and from whom they came, our guests will be engrossing, we will laugh, talk — we will share, we will be full and satisfied.  Then, I’ll bring out homemade cookies, and ice cream with all the toppings, and like children, we will indulge even though we are stuffed.

So many memories are made and stories told at a supper table by candle light.  So many spirits from years gone by join us, they live inside us, and their stories come alive as if they are sitting right there next to us, slurping up a spaghetti noodle in one full sluuuurp, with little splatters of sauce landing on shirt and chin. It will be a lovely meal, with laughter, and deep discussions, some disagreements and some “aha” moments all around a table of friends and spirits.  And Grace will be spoken at the table.