Fifty Food Dates

Food is a bridge. It connects people in a basic, human way. A meal can be comforting, a call to come home—or an exciting adventure with surprising twists. At its core, food—making it, presenting it, eating it—is something you share with people you care about.

When you’re meeting a new friend, it might be something quick and warm, giving you twenty minutes to get to know them a little better while the kettle’s boiling.

On a date, maybe it’s a bourbon Manhattan with three cherries, or a glass of red wine in your living room. Add crackers and cheese if you like the person. If you really like them, it could be spinach omelets and sourdough toast for breakfast. 😉

Your child arrives home from school to a warm, fragrant kitchen and a batch of oatmeal cookies. Over a glass of milk, you ask them about the best parts of their day.

A homemade vegetable soup and fresh-baked bread can say to your teenager, “I know things are tough right now. Come sit with me and take a break.”

Dinner parties turn neighbours into friends, and in-laws into family.

Cooking together reunites old friends, and gives them something to do with their hands while their memories start churning. Suddenly, supper goes on for three hours and you’re not sure how all those wine bottles got emptied…

And food can make a farewell memorable too—when you know it’s the last time you’ll see somebody. When you’re saying goodbye. A late-night party with dripping candles and trays of antipasti: olives and feta, handmade artichoke phyllo, smoked sausages dipped in gourmet mustard. A kiss on the cheek. A parting—for a while. Maybe forever.

Sharing food is vital to friendship, family and community.

Throughout my life I’ve been lucky to be part of many communities, and have gathered dear friends from every corner of the world. When I was younger—unattached, without kids—it was easier to maintain friendships with people. There was time to pick up the phone or meet for dinner. But I’ve found that in recent years, especially with the hibernation of pregnancy and my daughter’s early infancy, I’ve receded from that community. Cocooned in our tiny world of three and gone inward—maybe too far.

I want that community back—yes, for my daughter’s sake, but also for myself. I miss my friends and their stories. I miss making soup with my colleagues in the classroom, and mixing rice pudding with my grandfather. I miss late night parties with my college friends (and professors!) and the large family dinners with fifteen different place settings.

So, while we were on a gorgeous family holiday in Curaçao, I woke my wife up one night with a dream—a fabulous journey I wanted to undertake. Fifty food dates. A year of cooking with family and friends, making dishes we love, or want to try for the first time. Trying sushi. Baking cinnamon rolls. Daring to cook a rack of lamb over Skype!

Breakfasts, lunches, cocktails, dinners. One-on-one or in small groups…and even (gasp) virtual cooking…? To reconnect, to have fun—with my sister/s, friends, family, neighbours, office mates, and people I haven’t met yet. To show my daughter the magic that gets made in the kitchen.

I don’t know exactly what I’m expecting, or even what I want. But I know that food is a gateway, and I’m ready to knock.

So come into my kitchen. Let’s talk!


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