Dining with Expectation

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After four years of monthly gatherings, we all agree that it was a bad decision to name our monthly supper club Dinner Divas. However, at the time of its inception, I was eager to start a supper club and simply reused a name of a previous dinner group that had fizzled out. Thus the subject of the first invite was, regrettably, Dinner Divas.

Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon was selected as the inaugural dinner and on that cold November afternoon my home was engulfed by the rich and buttery flavors of slowly braised beef, onions, mushrooms and hearty red wine. It was the perfect way to welcome new and old friends through a classic meal that’s both comforting and memorable. My anticipation for my guests matched my anticipation for dinner. It was on this night that a ritual of dining and sharing commenced. The evening proved to be just as memorable as the quintessential dish. It was the first of many gatherings.

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It was a mix of ladies who first came to eat dinner at my house four years ago– some were strangers, some were best friends, some were acquaintances. Since that first evening, we have continually had dinner once a month for four years. What has kept us together, and what drives us every month to set a date to dine, is that we have come to need one another. We have developed into a group of eight women who experience life together.

For us though, the food isn’t the highlight of our gatherings. Whether the meal is homemade or take-out; or we are at a home or restaurant, our gatherings are meaningful because we want to be there. By breaking bread together we have made ourselves vulnerable and open with one another. With every dish eaten– nachos, tapas, pizza, soup, flatbreads– we create a stronger bond. These dinners have seen us celebrate new jobs, pregnancies and personal successes. They have also witnessed tears over the loss of loved ones, miscarriages, impending medical procedures and heartache. We have become a group of women, all very different, who need one another, who pray for one another, who rely on one another.

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There is no end in sight for the Dinner Divas. Our monthly get-togethers only get better.

Relationships that form around food and the consumption of food are powerful. It is the kinesthetic, sense arousing, body nourishing process of eating that makes this true. When eating, the body is engaged to be nourished and so is the soul. Our culture, unfortunately, misses out on this opportunity for enrichment because we seek instant gratification, quick meals and isolated friendships.

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Relationships take time and so should meals. Let the moments spent around a table with strangers or loved ones be powerful. Engage yourself to not only benefit from the gathering, but also be willing to enrich others. Make yourself vulnerable and dine with expectation that you will walk away having gained a nourished relationship and a nourished body.

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