Garden-Fresh cooking blog dinner party recipe shrimp spinach strawberry | The Old Farmer's Almanac

A Family That Eats Together, Laughs Together

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Sometimes it’s planned, other times it’s spontaneous. However it happens, eating together has been a form of communication and community since the beginning of time.

A good meal shared with others can serve as an informal therapy session, a way to meet new friends, a way to celebrate holidays. My parents always made an effort to enjoy dinnertime together, even if the food was take-out and we were plopped on the couch. During college, my friends and I would have a “family meal” of pasta, salad, and lots of garlic bread. These occasions would be mini stress relievers from papers due while giving us a chance to refuel our bodies and reconnect with the people we lived with.

When I suggested a dinner party to my closest girlfriends from college, they were ecstatic. I requested that they bring big spring hats and make this a more dressed up occasion compared to our pasta and garlic bread nights. In return, I would make them a delicious dinner! I chose to create a three-course meal using recipes from The Garden-Fresh Cookbook: Strawberry Spinach Salad, Shrimp Creole, and a French Strawberry Pie. 

The rain stopped me from my initial plan of having a spring dinner party outside, so I moved the festivities into the dining room! I placed fresh cherry blossoms and lilacs in a vase and lit tea candles floating in a glass bowl. I used mason jars for water glasses and rolled canvas dinner napkins into champagne glasses. The sun even decided to give the room natural light, although it was still too wet to be outside.

My apron was still on, and I was simmering the Shrimp Creole as my friends arrived in their high heels, dresses, and hats. They sat near the counter as I finished the last touches, and then they helped me serve up the food.

As always happens when we get together, we caught up on each other’s busy lives, shared inside jokes, and laughed at and with each other for a good 2 hours. My friends were in the midst of finishing projects and the school year, while I was running around juggling coaching and work. Yet the couple of hours we spent on a Sunday evening to laugh and eat together was just what we all needed. I can’t thank them enough for taking time out of their weekend to enjoy a dinner with my parents and me and to celebrate the finale of my Garden-Fresh Cookbook blog!

2023 Almanac Club