Books and Pasta

Loveys, Saturday was an all-around wonderful day for me. One of my editor friends and I went to lunch together and caught up on life and projects and family. And Saturday night was book club at my house.

Books and food are two of my favorite things, so, as usual, I find ways to combine the two! We read Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay, and came together over baked ziti and salad and bacon-wrapped dates and homemade apple pie and truffles and glasses of wine to discuss the book. The book has food themes (one of the main characters is a chef), which is right up my alley, obviously. So a potluck dinner seemed like the way to go. We passed the book around the table and read the discussion questions. As usual, conversation goes in a million different directions, from wild boars in Arizona border towns to who said I love you first in everyone's relationships, to the Walking Dead, to friendship-stalking on Instagram.

I love nights like this. I love hearing all the different perspectives. I love the crazy places that conversation goes to. I like refilled glasses of wine and friends around my table and second cups of coffee, and I really like bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese.

You guys know that I'm the kind of person who enjoys hospitality and community. Reading a book and inviting people over isn't that hard. But I don't deny there can be a lot that goes into it, and I'm always nervous and hopeful that everyone will have fun. It's hard enough for moms to get a night out--you want them to at least have a good time when they manage to escape to your house!

You plan and prepare, and when you finally hear the knocks on the door and see your friends filing in, holding bowls of salad and bottles of wine and platters of goodies, well, it's a good feeling. I'm thankful for every woman who sat around my table and shared her perspective. I do think gathering together is good for the soul.

This was my favorite quote from the book: "It's never about the food--it's about what the food becomes in the hands of the giver and the recipient." I think that's so true. Food is a means of bringing people together. It's sharing what you have.

The gift isn't necessarily just food--the gift is friendship. The gift is yourself.

Maybe that's why we get nervous (or some of us!) when hosting a gathering or going to a gathering. We're not worried someone will reject the food. We're afraid someone will reject us. That can happen. (It does happen. I've experienced it, too.) But most times, the gift is received and the gathering is good.

During discussion last night, we were talking about smells and other senses that take us back to other times in our lives. Dishes that remind you of Thanksgiving, something that makes you think of your dad or your mom, a reminder of your childhood. I was thinking today of how whenever I buy coffee at the store, I glance down the shelf at the rectangle canisters of cappuccino and I think of Michelle. This happens nearly every time I go buy Keurig pods. I think of Michelle and the hundreds of mornings we spent together, drinking cappuccino and talking--at that huge kitchen island, on the deck overlooking the lake at April Sound, and over at Stacey's house. Seeing those canisters takes me back to my growing-up years and reminds me of friendship.

Even now, as grown-up women, we're creating moments that we'll think back on. Maybe not every detail, maybe only the sense of women laughing around the table or the faint memory of talking with a friend.

The gift of yourself is worth giving and having, lovey. You're worth it.

Today we're cleaning up over here. I'm resting my feet as much as I can. We're eating leftovers and doing laundry.

But last night . . . there were twinkle lights and books and voices and music and pasta.

Good stuff.

**Many thanks to Jeff for all his help in getting things ready and watching our kiddos upstairs. And thanks to the girls for reading and sharing.(And I missed the girls who couldn't make it!) I'm already looking forward to getting to host book club again this summer (where, hopefully, we'll sit around an outdoor table at night, under a pergola strung with twinkle lights. Hint, hint to the Jeffster.)

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