For almost 20 years four couples have gathered around a table several times a year for an international dinner. Countries have run the gamut from obscure places such as Lebanon and Nigeria, to the more traditional locales of England and Chile. Each couple selects a country, and the courses are divided among the others for a complete meal.
Part of the fun of planning such an evening is coming up with a clever, creative invitation, and then decorating the dining room table for the country featured.
Often the hosts have traveled to the country recently and share pictures and artifacts. There seems to be moments for acquiring new knowledge, too, along with all the other chatter.
The most interesting part of the preparation is the selection of recipes from cookbooks. In the past it would require an afternoon at Border's perusing the shelves. Everyone relies on the Internet now with its wide variety of choices.
The evening of the meal has been a time to catch up with each other and talk.
Throughout 20 years a lot of life phases have occurred-retirements, parental and sibling deaths, adult children's marriages and grandchildren. There have been joys and heartbreaks. Milestone birthday celebrations have been attended; ocassionally an impromptu surprise would pop up out of the blue.
It seems to be a good thing to maintain lifelong relationships with friends over lengthy meals once in awhile.