[descriptions] Longer Dinners


[descriptions] Longer Dinners

September 2016

Last Friday, we stood in the kitchen cutting up thick slabs of pork and generously showering the steaks with handfuls of sea salt, pepper and thyme. An elegant bottle of red wine, a stout green handle of soju, and several dark glass bottles of beer stood patiently at the far end of the table.

Josh exclaimed, “Shit, I forgot to buy vegetables.”

We quickly responded that just meat and alcohol would suffice. 

“Never mind the vegetables.”

But on second thought, there are not many things that can firmly anchor one into the visceral now like a dark green lettuce leaf wrapped around a hot cut of meat, accompanied by a wallop of samjaang. 

I pulled on my running shoes and ran into the brisk evening towards Sam’s Market. I selected the most beautiful pack of romaine stalks, firm cold cucumbers, and a pack of vine tomatoes. The fellow at the front was in a good mood. He asked me if I was going to the concert tonight. He told me that they’d be open later than usual to take advantage of the post-concert crowd.

“I hope I sell a lot of beer tonight.” 

Upon returning with the vegetables, the meat had finished cooking over the coals, seared and smoky in just the right places. We collectively cheered as we admired the heap of fine pork, steak and chicken.

The next three hours we ate, drank, and then ate and drank again.

I think this type of slow dinner is not so common amidst our busy schedules. But these are exactly the types of dinner we must schedule in. They are gratifying in a really deep way.

Our busy weeks all slowed to a halt, and we raised our glasses in various toasts throughout the dinner. When were were full, we sat back contentedly in our chairs and sipped on our beers, listening or speaking. When we were hungry again, we reached for more.

David was right. I was so sure that we would not be able to finish the several cows, the herd of pigs, and the flock of chicken we had cooked.

“We’ll definitely have left overs.”

“We definitely won’t.”

By the end of the meal, there was nothing left but a heap of empty dishes.

We pulled out the hookah and carefully poked countless holes, guaranteeing that ever so satisfying plume of smooth smoke.

The hose went around the circle until the evening grew late.

As the coals of the hookah begin to crumble, and the shisha grow slightly harsh, sleepiness came upon us all.

And that is how Friday evening came to pass.

The next week during class on Monday morning, the gal next to me asked me how my weekend was. This question is a bit of a trap. Reply too briefly and the opportunity to engage is lost. Reply too extravagantly and one risks rambling unsolicited. 

I told her, “It was not bad. Had some good food with the roommates on Friday. And then caught up on some readings Saturday and Sunday. How was yours?”