Dinner With Friends: Working With What You Got

Friends are hard to find. Truly, it is difficult to find anyone to dine with you in the big city. Fortunately, Cindy and Leondro were available to attend a wondrous evening where we dined on bavette, risotto and poached pear. It is difficult to perform for others: I never feel like the beef is done properly, the cheese is cold and I just micro-planed my wrist because the damn plane failed. Still, I know deep down that great guests pay no attention to the trivialities.

Certainly, Leondro was the best stirrer of risotto that I have ever met. His risotto was perfect, and his only question after 20 minutes of slow, intense stirring was “what is my end goal here?” Cindy chopped the fennel, garlic, onion and more garlic as we prepped the main courses. In my mind I want the duck tortellini to be the best pasta they have ever tasted. I want the wild mushroom risotto to come from God. The bavette needs to move each person like a reading of The Story of O. Sadly, it never does.

The catch with cooking, dining and drinking is that it is impossible to perfect a dish while still enjoying the company that you so desperately seek. Like a bedroom performance, the best steak you cook will always be for yourself.  Still, I would always rather be disappointed with my performance and enjoy the comfort of friends than eat alone. I learned so much from the wisdom of Leondro and the patience of Cindy; few things can offer more than the balm that friends offer in tough times. Still, I wish that my meager skills could have offered more. The dessert was a wonderful poached Ontario pear with a gingerbread cookie, and the bavette [though not up to the clodhammer of last night] was tasty with two cheeses [a blue rajah from Wisconsin and a rondelle from Quebec]. Let’s face facts:  I have performance anxiety!

Done. Dinner killed. I micro-planed my wrist. The novel I am writing is breathing fire and I just need a few hours of sleep to push harder. Heave away boys.Heave away!




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