Your oldest friend is stopping by for lunch, and she’s bringing along her 90 year-old mother. You make a chicken salad with thinly sliced apple and pecans that you toasted yourself in the oven. You ran out to the bakery to fetch a fresh baguette and heated it crisp in the oven. Throw in some large table grapes and some sliced cucumbers and you have a terrific menu. Set the table with your favorite stoneware dishes, put everything out on the table, and you’ve made a meal fit for your honored guests, right? The only problem is that after they take your well-prepared food and fill up their plate, they are staring at this:
This is a dull looking plate of food. Don't do this to your nice friends!
Why would you want to subject good friends to this most ordinary experience with your well-prepared food?!
My oldest friend, Lauren, and her mother, Ethel, stopped by for lunch today. It wasn’t a mere cross-town drive for them to come and visit, but rather a 100+ mile drive, which in my book merited special treatment. Lauren’s parents and my parents were once close friends, playing bridge and socializing together. Ethel, who is 90, shares a birthday with my dad. He is 91. At their ages they don’t have too many old friends with whom they might share a meal, and so it was quite the event to have them come for a visit.
It was through our parents that Lauren and I met, back when we were twelve. Lauren and I spent every available day together during the next couple of years, oblivious to the evils of junior high, safe from the ups and downs that befell the typical pre-teen. We took turns making school lunches for each other, she making lunches one week, and I the next. This was around the same year, so long ago, that microwaves were invented, and we gleefully indulged in canned ravioli, spagetti-o’s and other re-heatable, canned delicacies while those around us were content with cold sandwiches.
This is the type of event that merits my finest china. I took out the rarely used Civil War era china, and artistically fussed over plating the food in the kitchen. Being presented with a nicely arranged plate of food, I hope, showed my guests how much of a special occasion this was for both me and my dad. Why wait for Thanksgiving to dust off your best china? Good friends merit royal treatment.
Wouldn’t you rather eat chicken salad off of this plate?
Lauren (left), at Dori's 12th birthday party.