Cabin Fever Lunches

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As I mentioned in a former blog, about thirty years ago I decided to call up some friends and invite them for lunch.  I told them to feed their toddlers and then we could eat while they played.  I thought we could play a little Trivial Pursuit after dessert and chat.  Well, the Trivial Pursuit box was never opened.  We ate, gabbed and laughed all afternoon.  We enjoyed our get-together so much we decided to do it every month and so we have (except for July and August) for the last twenty-nine years.  We no longer come with children.  Instead we all bring pictures of our married children and grandchildren to pass around.  We set up a schedule in the spring; each of us takes a month to host and we are all slotted in for turns to bring appetizers or dessert.   We have a great time and it has led to fast friendships and some funny experiences.

This month is my month to host and I am bustling around like a whirling dervish, as my mom would say.  I have planned my menu and now its just clean up time.  Well, I’m not the best housekeeper.  I tend to lean more towards comfort than pristine, if you know what I mean.  When you come to visit me, just don’t open any closets or look under the bed.  You will either be avalanched by hidden flotsam and jetsam or grabbed by the ankle by dust bunnies.  I do enjoy company, but I get a bit flustered on the day or so before no matter how many times I have hosted.  You see, no matter how much I prepare there are always surprises.

I remember one particular year when our garden was very productive.  We had tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, broccoli and cucumbers up to our armpits.  We were very proud of the garden and I was extremely pleased as I realized that I wouldn’t have to spend a lot to feed my guests.  I’m not too sure what the main dish was, maybe ham and scalloped potatoes, but I do know that one of the dishes was steamed broccoli.  I soaked the broccoli ahead of time in slightly salted water.

Everything was ready.  The table was set, the mood music was playing, and the punch was in the bowl.  Then my guests arrived and we sat down to eat.  Well, they sat down.  I had a few extra things to do in the kitchen.  Suddenly, I heard giggles coming from the dining room.  It became even more uproarious as I went to find out what I had missed.  Had someone told a funny story?  No.  It seemed there was an uninvited guest at the table, well, on one of my guest’s side plate.  She pointed and I looked.  There was a still- wriggling green caterpillar that had crawled out of her broccoli.  Embarrassing!

On another memorable occasion, I was attempting to whip cream in the kitchen when my dishtowel got caught in the electric mixer and sprayed the topping all over the back of my friend’s little black dress.  Very embarrassing!

Well, to be fair, not everything has happened at my house.  At one lunch, we were having a meat fondu, when the table cloth caught fire.  Another time, lightning hit the house of one hostess and the power went off.  At another home, some of the children decided to play with the coloured sand that you can make pretty pictures with all over the white shag carpet.  In spite of all these things (and more) we are all still friends and we look forward to many more Cabin Fever lunches in the future, even if someday we have to park our walkers at the door of a restaurant.

Hmm… guess I’ve procrastinated long enough.  Time for some vacuuming, just in case someone decides to look up at the cob webs on my chandelier.

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