Dec. 16, 2012 12:32 pm
Updated: Dec. 22, 2012 1:20 pm
About 12 years ago, give or take a year, Jon and I started a tradition with another couple we have been friends with since we were teenagers in high school. We take turns preparing a special dinner and we spend the evening with these dear friends. This
year was their turn to have us over. Way back when it all started we had no intentions of starting such a tradition. We just invited two good friends over for dinner. We don't prepare many "fancy" meals where we pull out the good dishes, crystal wine glasses,
candles, linen table cloths and the like. That first dinner was so much fun that they said they wanted to reciprocate and have us over the next year. From there it turned into a "competition" of sorts where we have tried to outdo the other's meal from the
Lisa sent me a text message early last week. Would I mind bringing a salad and a bottle of wine for dinner? She has admitted she just can't make a salad. This from a woman who has made delicious rolled flank-steak, cioppino, crab cakes to die for... Of
course I agreed to help out. I had to know what we were eating, though, so I could bring wine that would go with dinner and make a salad to "match". She sheepishly admitted she was making lasagna. She didn't think lasagna really qualified as a "special"
dish for this special dinner but it was what she was making. I disagree. A good lasagna can be very special. We chose a bottle of merlot from our stash from our Virginia wine vacation and it turned out to be an excellent choice. Her lasagna was delicious!
She made her own sauce, loaded the layers between the noodles with lots of cheese and sausage, and baked that pan to perfection!
For dessert she had made a cranberry/apple cake. It also was delicious and a big warm mug full of red sangria punch finished the night off.
While Jon and I were at our friend's house enjoying fine food and even finer company - the rest of my family was assembling at my daughter's house. That is the rest of the family that was still in Ohio. My younger sister and her daughter had flown to Florida
to attend the Eukanuba Dog Show and to see my older sister who had driven there from South Dakota. Deb, the older sister, has a Spinone Italiano dog (Partito is his name) that was invited to be a participant in this National Championship Invitational Dog
Show. She originally was not planning on attending - Florida is a long way from South Dakota - but a friend of hers had also been invited to attend and convinced my sister they could ride together sharing costs and keeping one another company. As soon as
my younger sister, Jeani, heard this she purchased plane tickets for herself and her 17 year old daughter. Jeani also owns a couple of these Spinone's and Shannon is fast becoming quite the handler.
Partito (aka Party Kid) won Best of Breed and would be going back into the ring for Group! Debbie decided that Shannon could take him into the ring - it would be a chance of a lifetime to participate in such an event! This event also was going to be live-streamed
and my daughter figured out how to play it through her computer onto the TV and invited Grandma & Grandpa over to watch, as well as Jeani's husband and son. Thus, the gathering at Kristal's house. I really wish we could have been there as well. It's also
going to be aired at some point on TV, so I will eventually get to see the show.
I can imagine that when Deb and her friend load up their car and head West toward South Dakota the drive may not seem as long as the drive out was. At least they'll have plenty to talk about. Partito not only got to go - he did it up good and made his "fans"
Once we have our dinner with our friends, I declare the Holiday season of food and cheer officially here! This week is my last week of work before a two week break and I am meeting a friend tomorrow evening and another on Tuesday and another group of us
will be meeting at the local winery on Thursday for some holiday cheer. I'll take a batch of wassail and a tray of cookies to share with co-workers on Thursday. Our family food celebrations start on Sunday afternoon and will continue on Christmas Eve at
my daughter's and end with everyone coming to our house for Christmas Dinner. I love these celebrations and all the fantastic food and great company! This year there is only one thing that could make these times perfect and that is if only Steve were coming
home. When he does finally make it back to Ohio for a visit we'll just have a feast at that time!