Some of you know that two years ago my husband had surgery on his leg. He had ruptured his achilles tendon and he had a cast on his leg for several months, and was on crutches with a boot for several more. It was a long year for him and for us, and a very humbling experience, but believe it or not, some good did come out of it.
The Reverse Dinner Party is one of those good things.
During the initial few weeks after the surgery we had lots of help from family and friends. We had people raking leaves and bringing meals and staying over, all to help us out. It was an incredible outpouring of generosity.
When things died down a little, we had some friends of ours, the Garabedian family, ask us if they could bring us dinner and hang out for the evening. We welcomed the fun and the food, and we said we’d make dessert. So they cooked at their house, we cleaned up at ours, and made dessert, and they arrived on our doorstep that evening with their two girls and our dinner.
With that one gesture, a new tradition was created: The Reverse Dinner Party. Our friends had brought dinner to us at our house but the next month when Don was more mobile, they asked us to come for dinner at their house. It seemed unfair to have them make dinner for us again, so we decided to treat them and we brought dinner to them at their house and this time they provided dessert.
It became a fun treat and a little bit of a break, too. If you had to clean your house for company, at least you “only” had to make dessert along with the cleaning. If you had to cook the main dish, at least you didn’t have to worry about making your house presentable for guests at the same time.
There was also an element of surprise with some of our Reverse Dinner Parties. We would try not to tell the others ahead of time, what we were going to make. We’ve had all kinds of things and so far there has never been a time where we haven’t liked what the others have made. It’s also been a fun time to try out something new.
This month, we did know that the Garabedians were bringing a turkey diner, so I planned a pumpkin pie for dessert, to go along with it. I also made a new dessert that I had on hand in my pantry: a banana chocolate chip monkey bread. Both desserts and all of the dinner courses got all thumbs up from all nine of us.
We’ve had our dinners in all seasons, indoors and out. We’ve had drinks and desserts over a fire, sometimes we play games, and this time around we incorporated a Yankee Swap, just in time for the holidays. The kids and the adults all had a blast, so I’m sure we’ll do it again next year.
In the end, it’s a night together with friends and it’s the sharing of a meal that really matters. It amazes me to think that we began this tradition two years ago, and I am grateful to our friends who asked simply if they could bring us dinner.