Rick and I hosted Soup Night here last night. It's a simple, fun weeknight party plan we came up with a couple of winters ago, to keep friends together and connected in this part of the year when it's easier, but not necessarily more beneficial, to hide out in our own homes. Week nights work great, because everyone has to work the next day, so it never goes too late. And it's important to keep it simple, because if it gets to be a lot for work, it becomes a burden and no fun anymore. We make a big pot of soup, always vegetarian/vegan, get out bowls, spoons, and wine glasses, and everyone else brings wine, bread, appetizers, and desserts. The one Rule is, everything but the soup has to be finger food that needs no more assistance than a paper napkin. This cuts down drastically on the amount of dish washing to be done. We don't have a dishwasher, so this makes a big difference to us!
Last night we expanded the group to include a few new people. I think I invited about 25, and 15 or so showed up. Pretty good! The group shifts a bit each time, which keeps it interesting. Rick made a really great soup - black eyed peas with coconut milk, curry, lemon, and cilantro. It was a huge pot full, and every drop was eaten. The table was loaded with tasty bits and bites, and bottles of wine covered another small table in the kitchen. Somehow everyone found a place to sit, spread out between the dining room and living room, with chandeliers glowing, fire crackling in the woodstove, and old rock n' roll filtered between conversations and laughter.
Our friend Peter made the bread, which was just... wonderful. Six long loaves got torn and dunked and buttered and devoured, the last bits finished off by me, after everyone was gone, as I sat dipping it in a glass of red wine. Heaven. You know it's been a good party when the house is strewn with bread crumbs. Tables, floors, chairs, everywhere. It's a happy sight, and symbolic to me of the bonds of friendship that are formed and strengthened as we break bread together. And it's also as if the crumbs might help our friends find their way back here... or maybe even helped us find our own way back to our friends. It was so nice to have them all here, welcoming us back into our home after so long away. I can't promise we won't stray again, but I know this place and these people will always be here for us. And I know we can find it now, with or without bread crumbs.
Full bowls, full hearts. Life is good. And we'll plan another Soup Night soon.