Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I have not cooked a thing in a million years, it feels like. (Okay, almost a week. Still.) It's sad, truly. I have barely been home long enough to eat a meal, really, and that won't change until after Labor Day, but that's okay.

We did go over to some friends' house for a lovely dinner last weekend, and, y'all? This friend is a former roommate, so she knows not everything I eat is fancy. (And truly, it isn't. I have dinner disasters all the time! Even when I make simple stuff.) But I felt a little weird because there was a lot of apologizing about it not being anything "special" and "not like you do" or "up to your standards." I get emails like that, too- people write to say they don't make gourmet meals like I do, and I think, Huh?

I can't think of a single meal I've ever made in my life that I would categorize as gourmet. And our friends- y'all, they served lasagne and sauteed zucchini and garlic bread and chocolate fondue(!) for dessert. And it's not like they heated up a frozen lasagne and garlic bread from a bag, either. And even if they HAD- so what? The point is not who makes the most from scratch or who can out-Martha who. The point is having friends over to share your food and a wonderful evening, and, at that, they were as successful as I've ever been, for sure.

I don't know. I'm not some super chef- I'm a pretty competent home cook. And I wasn't born that- I taught myself meal by meal over the past few years. I know not everyone makes the choice to do that and while I still believe in my heart of hearts the Minimalist's old motto (Everyone can learn to cook and everyone should), the rest of me knows that isn't always feasible. But to think that I'd ever judge anyone's cooking or that anyone should worry about my "standards" is clearly someone who hasn't eaten enough meals in my home.

So, y'all, if you have a friend who reads Martha Stewart religiously, whose obsession with Cook's Illustrated knows no bounds, who reads cookbooks for fun and who gets secret joy out of ironing her linen napkins... don't be afraid to invite her over. She (or he) knows that she (or he) is a fanatic. She (or he) would love nothing more than your favorite meal- she (or he, you get the point) will probably be dying to know how you cook your zucchini, even. Every host, even the most enthusiastic, enjoys being a guest. And you may just find you enjoy being a host.