Linda Petty is an editor at CNN Living. She likes boxed mixes, tarted-up vegetables, letting produce rot in her crisper, eating breakfast at her desk, raiding your pantry, ice cream cones and other frozen delights.
Some people love to cook. I do not happen to be among their number. I cook so that I won’t starve, consume only processed foods or eat from take out menus too much.
I don’t cook for fun. However, many of my friends and family do cook for fun. And I am among their biggest fans. I love to get invited to a great home cooked meal.
My friend Carol makes a meatloaf that has made grown men weep with gratitude when they get to take the leftovers home– if there are any. Becky makes a simple salad of romaine, fresh veggies and homemade dressing that is almost a meal of its own. Tom’s gatherings always include pork loin and beer-can chicken. He seems to always invite women to bring all the labor intensive side dishes and desserts.
I am the sort of food-illiterate person who reads cookbooks just to drool over the pictures - which may be why I accepted an invitation to dinner from an Eatocracy reader earlier this month.
I did check out his websites – both his and one that details every step during the construction of his house. I liked his writing – straightforward, honest, descriptive and concise, as well it should be from a college teacher.
I sent back a timid email asking, "What time and what should I bring?" Bob answered back with details about the dinner, the wines and his friends.
My own friends feared I would end up on the menu, served with a side of fava beans. They wanted to set up all kinds of checks: call when you get there, we’ll call you an hour later and here’s the code word to say for us to call the police. I turned down that offer because it just sounded too sitcom-y.
Instead, I showed up at the appointed hour carrying a bottle of Malbec, and he was at the door to greet me. Everyone was in kitchen tasting two kinds of cheeses with some crackers. Betty was putting the finishing touches on the chicken parmigiana. Brenda whipped up a salad. Soon we moved into the dining room where Bob’s homemade French bread joined the feast.
There's nothing like good food, good wine and good conversation among new friends to make the time pass quickly. And I must have passed muster because I was invited to join the group again on their regular dinner night.