Have you ever noticed that most other cultures celebrate with feasts? This crosses my mind a lot. Cheri and I have a unique friendship built around food. We met several years ago and I was instantly attracted to her beautiful personality. She has a certain charm and feistiness that draws you in and when she’s excited, it’s unmistaken.
But when we first met, while these traits of hers were always true, life circumstances were so different for both of us. I used to hide away and not let people into the details of my life too much. I think I was a bit of a mystery in some ways. I didn’t like letting people in because I was too proud as well as generally lacking in trust of others not because they hadn’t proven themselves worthy of trust but because I just cut people off. She too had her own struggles but somehow we never talked much about them, instead we started to meet in my kitchen and something different happened, we each received some form of comfort through the hours we labored over our creations. I’d never shared the kitchen with anyone I could dance in tandem with. We laughed that we finished each others culinary sentences because before I could ask for an ingredient she’d already be passing it over. Our time was never spent bickering or fighting over the certain tasks and it was a shared venture in how we would alter the recipes we’d try out. Instead we would laugh, “oohhh” and “ahhhh” over the scents, colors, textures, tastes or even the alterations we’d made and new discoveries along the way. So whenever I think of her, I think of how many good meals we’ve created together and how we shared a special bond and it feels as though, in some way, we’ve made our own feasts or festivals. We developed a culture of sharing meals together or with others and putting everything of ourselves into it and eventually we were able to talk more and get to know each other in the process but food talked first, we talked second.
Yesterday was no exception. Her birthday was earlier in the week and she had decided she wanted to cook a meal for all her friends. At first it sounded like it might be daunting but I would never refuse the challenge and so we begun to plan. I think the 22nd was possibly the most sought after event night, however, as I think I got invited to a handful of other things but I was committed to her birthday and sharing in the unique experience while we’re still able to do it together. For her birthday I’d bought the latest Jamie Oliver cookbook, Jamie Oliver’s Food Escapes (from his series Jamie does…) which produced a few shrills of excitement and we started looking inside it for inspiration. Approximately 20 people squeezed into my