Addendum to Food

I found this blog this afternoon, and thought this post in particular would make a good addendum to my last post (“Food”). http://americaeats.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/event-3-cooking-lessons-2/

I often hear another reason for single people neglecting to shop/cook/eat as they ought–a reason I failed to discuss in my last post: people just don’t like cooking and eating alone. I know more people, girls especially, who have never mastered the art of cooking for one, and who don’t really see the point in expending the energy on a home-cooked meal if they have no one to share it with. This post on “America Eats” struck me, not so much for the cooking lessons bit (though that’s really cool), but because the 20-somethings discussed are engaging in regular communal meals.

I grew up in a Catholic household, and I know many other Catholic singles did too. My parents had a cardinal rule for our family from the time I was old enough to sit up in a high chair: we ate dinner together. It was that simple. Our family dinners were a time to come together, to look back on the day, to discuss what we’d done, what our plans were for the week. Sometimes Dad would throw out a quote he’d found that day, or a question on the day’s Gospel, or just a life question in general, and we’d end up in hours-long conversations while remnants of food dried on the dishes in front of us and the leftovers got cold on the stove top. I’m not saying all our family meals were like this of course…and as my siblings and I have grown up and moved on, the family dinners are relegated more and more to holidays, but those routine meals are some of my most treasured memories.

Needless to say, my nighttime meals for one, enjoyed alone in my tiny apartment with only the buzz of my downstairs neighbor’s television for  company are a pathetic attempt at replacement for that.

While this wouldn’t solve the problem of eating alone (I’ve heard candles on the table are a nice enhancement to those lonely suppers, but I have yet to give them a try), I propose an initiative in the D.C. area as we start in to 2011: how about gatherings of our own “20 (and 30)-somethings” for an occasional meal–cooked and eaten together? And hey, throw in a Catholic twist–maybe say the Rosary or the Office. And don’t forget Grace before the meal. Obviously people with adequate kitchen space would need to be willing to host, which adds a challenging twist. But there’s nothing quite like working together with friends to prepare a meal for everyone to enjoy. As long as there’s enough elbow room for all the chefs. And for those who still struggle with the culinary arts, it’d be a great way to gain some tips in the kitchen.

Hey, it’s a thought.

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3 thoughts on “Addendum to Food

  1. Great idea! I would definitely join in, were I in the area. Meanwhile, with four housemates, I rarely eat dinner alone. Usually, at least a couple of us will end up preparing our dinners at the same time (in a kitchen as large as ours, we have no good excuse not to cook–in as large or as small a quantity as we choose) and will sit down together, or one of us will just sit down with the eating person to chat as she eats. I actually look forward to sitting down to a meal with a good book now and then–usually this is a weekend breakfast. But yes, there’s nothing better than community and sharing it over a good meal! 🙂

  2. I’m totally up for that. Especially for groups organized around a specific geography, like Crystal City, Alexandria, Ballston, etc.

    I stared a group like this with my guy friends last year; we called it “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” which I always thought was super corny. I shortned it to “the league.” We said the rosary before dinner sometimes, but we always had at least 2 hours of good conversation. It was usually on a week night, which is such a nice change of pace from the typical, go to work, go home, eat, sleep routine.

    It really takes someone to be motivated to schedule it regularly. We’ve falled out of holding our gatherings bi-weekly because of the holidays. Perhaps we’ll re-engage in this exciting new year.

  3. I think dinner parties with friends are grand, and I especially sympathize with the disheartening “dinner for one” in my apt. (PS – candles DO help: I’m now in the habit of lighting at least 2 when I’m home alone, haha.) In my old digs, we had students over pretty often for meals with us – I should get back into that and save them from Commons food. If I lived closer to you, I’d totally be up for doing it every couple weeks. Alas, I’m all the way out here, but if it’s ever on a weekend, let me know!

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