This is the question I asked my friends the other day when we were deciding what to do for dinner. We opted for going somewhere casual, the reason being that we cook so often at home, and wanted to treat ourselves to some nice Italian food. On other occasions, we choose to get together at someone’s place and make a meal together instead of dining out.
I have to admit, this makes me somewhat hopeful: in this day and age, for a generation of thirty-something-year-old working professionals (mainly without children), the act of making granola from scratch or cooking a traditional Italian dish passed down for generations seems archaic. Perhaps it is, since most of us Canadians dine out 2 times a week or more on average, and likely forget to consider buying that treat with our latte, or ordering take-out pizza or thai food as dining out. In 2000, nearly 35% of our total food expenditures went to dining outside the home, which works out to an average of $200 per month per person.
In turn, cooking a communal meal can be cost-effective (as cooking in larger quantities often is), on your own terms (you can add your own flavors and spices), and above all, creates a sense of community as friends share their cultural and comfort foods with each other. There is no better compliment than watching your friends rush around the kitchen, adding a dollop of this here and there, all for the sake of creating a meal that you will enjoy.
Perhaps the time has come to wax a bit of historic and think of the ancient First Nations tradition of the potlach, which among other things, included the sharing of food as a means to distribute wealth among the people (hence the word “potluck”). As the weather is warming, and the summer market season is nearing, you might find great opportunity to gather a few friends, share food, fun, and laughter, all in the comforts of your own home.
Sean’s Baked Seafood Spaghetti (Italian Cooking Encyclopedia) – his wife, Sarah, made a chocolate cake from scratch for dessert