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The Friday Night Supper Club April 13, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in chickens, gardening, homesteading, pets, Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood love a congenial gathering. And we especially love a congenial gathering on a Friday night, to celebrate another week well lived (or at least survived) and to kick off another wonderful, too-short weekend. But our little cottage, Hawk’s Haven, was not designed with entertaining in mind. There is no dining room. There is no parking. And don’t get us started on the plumbing!

This situation had frustrated our friend Ben for years. Then some good friends did a major renovation on their house, creating a big dining room, a huge, cozy family room with lots of light and a fantastic fireplace, and an enormous deck for outdoor entertaining. As it happened, a number of our other friends lived near this couple. Our friend Ben had a bright idea, and the Friday Night Supper Club was born.

Here’s how it worked out. Friday night seems ideal for a get-together, but of course everybody’s wiped out after another grueling work week. So our friend Ben suggested a division of labor. Our hosts provide the setting for our dinners. Silence usually brings the main dish and sides, while our friend Ben is responsible for the salad. (During the laying season, we also bring colorful little six-packs of Hawk’s Haven eggs for everybody.) Another friend brings wine; a second, flowers fresh from her garden; a third, dessert; a fourth, sparkling water or an appetizer; a fifth does the dishes. Our good friend Richard Saunders of Poor Richard’s Almanac fame is an accomplished baker, and often appears with a crusty loaf still warm from the oven.

While the festivities are getting underway, kids and grandkids take over the family room, creating massive Lincoln Log fortifications that are quickly demolished (amid squeals of outrage) by an armada of toy bulldozers and trucks. The latest Disney movie is usually playing, though occasionally the kids surprise our friend Ben by choosing more grown-up fare like The Lord of the Rings, or even, once, the Bollywood classic “Bride and Prejudice.” One particularly talented friend occasionally brings his guitar and amuses young and (ahem) older alike by playing his specialty, which happens to be, believe it or not, garden-related songs. Meanwhile, Binx and Jones, the resident cat and dog, are usually lurking under the dining table, hoping against hope that somebody will get careless and drop a scrap or two for them.

For most of us, these are not late nights (it is, after all, the end of a very long week), but they are good nights: Cozying up to the woodstove or fireplace with a hot cup of coffee or mulled cider in winter; venturing out to see what’s ripening or blooming in our hostess’s phenomenal garden in the long, firefly-lit twilights of summer. (Or just admiring her garden soil. Our friend Ben is not usually prone to envy, but years of composting have given that soil the exact texture of chocolate cake.) Hearing the murmur of quiet conversation or the sudden laughter of children.

Higher math is not our friend Ben’s forte. But here’s a simple equation we can all appreciate: Good friends + good food = good times!




1. techsamaritan - April 13, 2008

Hey, that sounds great! Once have enough friends in the area we will have to start a FNSC of our own.

Yeah, we love it!

2. CeeCee - April 13, 2008

I like your idea better than the one in Cooking Light Magazine—they suggest preparing the meal together. I doubt many kitchens can put up with that sort of activity. You idea of a “potluck” of sorts is perfect.
Your writing is lovely, I can feel the happiness and laughter of good friends. I can also appreciate the envy of the “chocolate cake” soil. I too, would need to admire it. I might also take off shoes and socks and wander around in it if allowed.

You’re right, CeeCee! We tried cooking the whole meal over there at first, but with one sink and one stove, there was just too much chaos–we were tripping all over each other. Preparing it, then bringing it worked out a lot better! And thanks for the kind words! It really is a lovely way to spend an evening.

3. Lin - April 13, 2008

I love to cook and we’re lucky enough to have a dining room and a fair amount of outdoor space, too. In addition to regularly hosting family dinners, DH and I are in several dinner groups…some long-time friends, some not-so-long-time friends. Depending on the group, we get together once a month, or about every two-three months. We set it up so that we each take a turn hosting and host provides entree and whatever else they want, friends bring a salad or dessert or appetizer, etc. (BTW, I agree, cooking/prepping at home is better. None of us have a kitchen that can accommodate 6+ cooks.) Bringing part the meal not only lightens the work for the host, but makes it more fun. It’s casual and lively…as much about the company, as the food. (Maybe more!) It seems to me that cooking/eating at home/hosting (I don’t like the word “entertaining”–always makes me think of someone putting on a show.) is seriously on the decline and I think that’s a shame. There’s nothing like sharing a homecooked meal with friends and family in your home.

So true, Lin! Sounds like you all have a wonderful social network!

4. Becca - April 13, 2008

What a great post. We have been trying to do something like this and now I finally get what it should look like! Thanks for the inspiration and motivation to try it.

Thanks, Becca! Go for it!!! It’s so much fun, and the division of labor really takes the pressure off!

5. Cinj - April 13, 2008

Now THAT’S my kind of math equation! 😉

Ha!!! Thanks, Cinj! I still cringe every time I think of algebra and calculus. Damn those trains heading towards each other at variable speeds!

6. deb - April 14, 2008

That sounds so familiar. Our family dinners; seven grown kids +seven spouses +ten grandkids+ grammy and opa = chaos and good food. We do this a couple of times a month.

That’s so great, Deb! How wonderful for you that your family all lives close enough to get together!

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