Friday, January 2, 2009

The love of my friends (and food)

When I get woken from slumber by a text message saying "Do you wanna go out for brunch?" and of course the answer is "Yes!" What rightful Taurus would not accept an invitation to eat delicious food and drink divine coffee on a lazy day off? And all of this... with friends.

Ask a Taurus how to better enjoy spending time with their friends or family and the answer is always "Just Add Food!"

Spending time with friends is a very important part of my life. It always has been:- from the days of sleep-overs and blue-light discos through my school years; The house parties and booze cruises of my University days and now to the much more sophisticated dinner parties at home, at restaurants at cafes and BBQ's. I love the socialising that occurs when people share themselves over food, I find the real me comes out to play when there is good food involved.

The thought of sharing a meal with someone is like inviting them into my family. I fondly remember sitting up at the kitchen table to eat our dinner at home, telling stories about our day and connecting with Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother. I remember the delicious home-cooked meals prepared with love and the sometimes arduous task of getting my seven-years-younger brother to eat anything that was orange or green.

This Christmas I was able to really delight in the opportunity to prepare a meal for my whole family, in D and my new home. I loved putting the roast on to cook, chatting with family as we prepared the veges and sauces. Seeing the joy on my mother's face that she could have the day off after cooking 3 meals per day for a farming family all of her married life, not to mention cooking the Christmas Turkey each year - usually in the middle of harvest! I loved serving the meal onto warmed plates alongside my sister and savouring the looks on people's faces as they bit into that first mouthful. This year's feast consisted of a Maggie Beer inspired roast goose with apple, walnut and sage stuffing accompanied with roasted root vegetables and topped with apple sauce and gravy. Yes, of course there was traditional plum pudding with brandy custard for desert.

Sharing food with friends can serve many purposes; to celebrate, to commiserate, to lend a hand, to strengthen a bond or to connect, but ultimately what we're trying to accomplish is nurturing. Nurturing occurs with the feeling of love and freely given effort and time in which a meal is prepared and shared. Nurturing occurs even in that silent moment of not knowing what to say when a friend just needs your presence.... or that piece of advice given which assists in ways beyond measure.... or that conversation that lifts someone's spirits with ease. I'm not only talking about the nutrition of the food we eat but the nurturing of our souls which occurs alongside.

One of my many fond memories of sharing food with D was the first night that we met. We met through a mutual friend who I had driven 450km to Melbourne to visit while he was home from the UK. I met my friend who said he had to pick up D before we went to the movies (a new change in plans...) and then we would head out clubbing later (which was what I was expecting). The movie date we were crashing was the birthday celebrations of Tam (who I would come to know as a wonderful friend, housemate and later on, my bridesmaid! Anyway, more about that another time, back to the food). Following the movies, but a little while after sparks had started to fly between D and I, we ate a snack at Pancake Parlour. I will always remember the offer to share pancakes and the cheeky, flirtatious looks we shared over those mouthfuls of strawberries and ice-cream. Eating meals together and sharing food has become a firm habit of ours and we enjoy eating new cuisines, however creatures of habit that we are - we often end up at the same place every weekend chatting to the staff that we know and love and ordering the same thing off the menu every time!

Of course, my fondest memory is of the brunch we shared together on Friday 29th February 2008 at our favourite cafe - Coco Lounge in Glen Waverley - where we ate our usual omelette & hash browns and scrambled eggs & beans accompanied by coffee (mine a tall latte and his a Vanilla flavoured latte). This was the memorable occasion when I asked him to marry me on the day of "The Ladies' Privilege". What a blast proposing to him, it was quite nerve-wracking and you know, I really had no idea whether he would say yes or no.... but figured I couldn't loose either way ! We joined with his family to celebrate that night over a delicious dinner and the next night saw an impromptu BBQ with a bunch of our loved ones and some delicious Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot - my two favourite champagnes.

Following the purchase of an engagement ring - and a surprise return proposal with Darryl on bended knee and all *swoon* - we celebrated with about 100 guests at Palate Restaurant Bar in Prahran. We chose this venue because of it's size, it's central location and wonderful comfortable atmosphere. But we also took into consideration the delectable platters of food prepared by our favourite chef, Chaminda, and the sumptuous cocktails mixed by Brendan & Loz (our fave wait-staff)... yes, it really is all about the food and the friends, isn't it?

When we began discussing what kind of wedding we would like to have we knew that food would be of utmost importance to the event. We were both firmly of the opinion that we wanted to share a wonderful first meal with our closest family and friends on the day of our wedding - and a dinner would be the meal we would choose. So, a Wedding Feast is what we will be celebrating with our guests in a little over six months; it will begin with roaming entrees and bubbly to encourage people to socialise before being seated for their main course ... and then dessert.... we haven't quite decided whether to eat these whilst mingling, on the dance floor or seated at tables, but don't be afraid, there will certainly be dessert !


  1. Food, is there nothing it cannot do? We use it to celebrate, to commiserate, to ameliorate, to distract, delight and entertain.

    I think part of the reason it's so important to some of us is because it tends to involve all the senses, which strengthens the memories around it. The aromas, the flavours, the textures, the chomping and slurping, the vision of colours and shapes.

    ... the drooling.

    I'm loving reading your blog! ... Nicola

  2. I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blurby, Al. You are very articulate and your writing is very interesting.....and, of course, you've mentioned food! You only have to look at what follows me around in my trunk to know I LOVE good food.

    Can't wait for the wedding-a-ding dong....

  3. Food is love. Let's never get confused about this. A trillian nonnas can't be wrong :)