A Salad Party

Last night we hosted our first real dinner party since before Thaddeus was born. I had been looking forward to it all week and I wasn’t disappointed. Bryan and I have always loved opening our home and sharing a meal with friends. The first year we were married we had a standing open door policy every Thursday night. Thursday nights all our friends knew that we would make a big dinner and they were welcome to join us if they wanted. When we moved to Prague we dropped the weekly open dinner, but continued to regularly invite a variety of people over for meals. Since having Thaddeus though we haven’t really done this at all and I have missed it a lot. So, tonight feels really significant to me – in a way it feels like coming back home to something I love, that I momentarily set down.

There’s been a lot of that lately - a lot of stirrings in me to return to former loves. During my pregnancy I sort of set aside many of my hobbies, interests, and former passions. I don’t know why but pregnancy and the transition into motherhood felt all encompassing for me. So, blogging, writing, photography, cooking, health, yoga, reading, and entertaining all sort of fell by the way side. Now they are calling to me again. So, tonight feels like opening a door to these former interests and saying, “Yes, come in again. I’ve missed you.”

So, what did we do for our entry back into dinner parties? A salad party. Ok, I know that there are probably some people out there who would think this sounds a little lame, but believe me it was awesome!

Basically Bryan and I provided lettuce, salad dressing options and homemade bread. We asked everyone else to bring one thing to contribute to a salad for dinner. I think everyone brought more than one thing though, and we ended up having such a great variety and a really beautiful salad. Our salad had three types of nuts, three different cheeses, tomatoes, apple, dried cranberry, and bacon all atop a salad of three different kinds of lettuce. YUMMY! For desert we had everyone bring a fruit and we made a big fruit salad and topped it with homemade whipped cream and a drizzle of honey. Strawberries, coconut, pineapple, banana, mandarin oranges, candied ginger - Even more yummy!

My favorite thing about this was that it was so communal. Everyone contributed whatever they had or wanted to offer. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about how some of the flavors would go together at first (apple and tomato?) but in the end it was delicious. Everything came together to create a beautiful colorful tapestry of flavors. To me this is a beautiful little picture of the body of Christ.

We all are so different and unique. Sometimes we aren’t sure if we really have something to contribute to the body or the kingdom, but we all do. Each and every one of us adds a unique flavor to the salad. Each and every one of us makes the kingdom “taste better” through our involvement. Even if we think that we might not “go together” well , often we’d be surprised that our “flavors” mix just perfectly to create exactly what the salad needs to take it to the next level. As I ate my salad I couldn’t l help but think about all that.

The other great thing about this dinner party was it didn’t cost much. In fact it may have been the cheapest dinner party we ever hosted. All Bryan and I had to buy for it was some lettuce, and whipping cream, and yeast. We already had everything else for bread and a whole jar of Czech honey at home to contribute. Everything else for the dinner came from everyone else. And since everyone only brought a few things it shouldn’t have been very expensive for any of them either. I really thought it was a great way to divide the cost of a big dinner, so that it was really manageable for everyone. These days that’s a big plus around here.

So, next time you’re thinking of a doing a dinner party feel free to steal this idea. You can’t really go wrong with a great big salad! And you can use this idea over and over - each time you do it your salad will turn out completely unique and different from the last time.

What are some of y our favorite dinner party meals?? Or what things are you picking up again that you’ve set aside for a while?

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman