Some of the most joyful moments in my...ugh...thirties have been the countless dinner parties that I hosted at my gorgeous dining room table back in New Orleans. Four Vivion Christmases and a particularly memorable welcome dinner for Terri stand out, but the any-given-Thursday meals are what spring to mind here. Over the past three years, some combination of myself, Nick and my OG Booty's work-wife Jennifer would get to work upstairs after the day shift at the restaurant, preparing for guests to arrive to dinner.
The best dinner parties were always the ones where I didn't entirely know who might be joining us. To his credit, one of Nick's best ideas was to invite two people, and ask them to bring along someone that we may not have initially known at the start of the meal. But by the time the dishes had been cleared and we had retired outside to the enormous gallery that wrapped around two sides of the building, where I grew all of my herbs and vegetables, we had all usually become the best of friends. At the very least, we were full.
It is in that spirit, with my heart permanently close to bursting with all of the aromas and laughter that those meals filled it with, like dough rising with yeast, that I decided to make my Remote Year a year of #52dinnerparties. A dinner party a week, folks, hosted from more than a dozen apartments and hotels in more than a dozen cities all over the world. As my access to local produce and spices, infrastructure, and the contents of my various cupboards changes, so will the faces around my tables.
I held The First Dinner at my apartment on Poeta Lugones near Sarmiento Park in Nuevo Córdoba. My table had four chairs, but an ottoman and pillow makeshift situation meant room for five of us. My cooking tools left much to be desired. No sharp knife, no cutting board, no saute pan, and not enough plates or silverware to actually have four friends over for dinner. My first guests needed to come prepared.
Like the three wisemen bearing gifts, Anhton arrived with salt, pepper, silverware and plates, Ezequiel with bread, and Max with the pan most of the meal would be prepared in. And like the Virgin Mary herself on prom night, Abby brought the wine.
Vermont, New York, Texas, Argentina and New Orleans all represented at one table. Cheers to that! My pre-meal toast was predictably emo as hell, but as the saying goes, "It's my party and I'll talk at great length about my feelings while my guests impatiently hold their drinks in the air if I want to." But enough about the guests; here's what we ate!
Anhton and Max practiced their Spanish with our resident Cordobese Eze, while Abby and I eventually retreated to the cool tile floor while we polished off our wine. Sometime after 11, which it turns out is quite early here in Argentina, I kicked everyone out.
TL/DR: I did it. Dinner happened, and it was good, even!
In Spanish class the next day, my little dinner party was a topic of conversation, and the requests to attend began lighting up our Remote Year Slack channel. The next two locations have already been scouted, and the guest lists are taking shape. I hope the year and the tables ahead will be filled with new friends, and maybe even a few familiar faces from back home. This is happening. #52dinnerparties, y'all.