Catering by Linda

Reviving Our Parents’ Dinner Party

Catering by Linda-87-X2Forty years ago on a typical Saturday night, you would find me at the top of the stairs in the house where I grew up, face pressed up between the spindles in the banister. Straining to hear bits and pieces of my parents’ conversations with their friends as the noise lofted up from the dining room to where I sat (perfectly still so nobody would know I was there), I would lean though the spindles until I had marks on my face. And it was all worth it when I learned a tidbit of gossip about a neighbor or, better, yet, a sibling or one of their friends. I have shared this memory with others, who have similar stories. It seems our generation grew up at the top of the stairs, listening.
I would know my parents were preparing for a dinner party because my Mom would let me to choose a TV dinner from our big chest freezer in the garage, and she would put it in the oven for me in the late afternoon. It seemed to take FOREVER to bake, but the salisbury steak and chocolate cake (center, top, between the carrots and mashed potatoes) were worth the wait. She timed it just right, so I would be fed, bathed, and in my pajamas before her friends arrived. My Mom, Dad, and their guests enjoyed highballs, my Mom’s casseroles, and lively conversation into the night. I would make one quick appearance long enough to give my parents a kiss goodnight. I believe I fooled them into thinking I was truly going to bed, but I would sit at the top of the stairs just a little while longer, convinced that they were waiting until they knew I was in bed to bring up the truly interesting topics.
In the last few years, Bill and I have tried to bring back the dinner party, inviting friends from different parts of our lives to come and meet and enjoy dinner together. This past Sunday, we introduced Bill’s “old” friends to our friends from church and a new friend of mine from my tennis group. Among us, there were 6 teachers, 3 artists, 5 guitar players, 4 foodies, and 10 people who, as it turns out, really enjoy chocolate molten lava cake. The conversation was easy, fresh, and current, and everyone enjoyed meeting one another.
I encourage you to gather some friends from different corners of your world, and introduce them to one another at your next get-together. In our world of quick, electronic communications full of “friending” and “following,” the opportunity to meet new people and share a meal together, face-to-face, is rare and special.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2015 at 11:45 pm and is filed under close to my heart(h). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. admin says:

    HUGE Photo Credit goes to my friend, Bill Morgan, who is an amazing tennis player, gifted photographer, and one of the nicest guys you ever want to meet. He spent two afternoons photographing my food as I prepared it, and you will get to view the fruit of his labor in coming posts on Facebook and in this blog. Thank you, Bill! I encourage you to check out his site:


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Catering by Linda