I noticed it first the time I dragged my friends and their small children out of their homes and over to mine for brunch on the coldest Sunday yet of a record cold winter. I entertain more when the weather is miserable. This was a gripping day in February. They peeled off parkas, scarves and lined hoods but the cold was still floating off their cheeks and sweaters when we got around to hello hugs.
I thought of it again on another night in late November, when the days were dreary to begin with and getting shorter by the minute, and I sat my girlfriends down for a rich, buttery, homemade pasta and the best bottles of pinot noir I could afford. Why would I go to the trouble of shlepping around to get the cuts of meat I wanted and why would they take transit over in this weather?
My reasons to entertain in terrible weather:
I was flat out using them. My friends. For their friendship. Bad weather is a downer and I hate letting a good weekend go by without a good meal with great people. Plus I get to drink better wine than if I didn’t have that good dinner to be at. So perhaps, using them to get to that good wine too.
Bad weather is a great excuse to cook indulgent food under the guise of: hearty/warming/earthy/cozy/rich. Code words for butter.
That food is a another great excuse to break open the Norm Hardie Chardonnay I was eyeballing ever since I picked it up. “It would go well with the Netflix” is hard for even me to sell to myself.
I last saw invited friends at their place (4 kids under 6yo) and before that at the restaurant where we had to make resos 6 weeks in advance. It’s hard to say which was louder but we had to scream to be heard at both. Time to catch up.
In a noisy restaurant, I might have missed this gem going down as I passed by my living room:
James: This neighbourhood is overrun with hipsters now.
Scott: Tell me about it!
James: I was crossing the street, holding the flowers I’d picked up for Julia in one hand and my umbrella in the other and this hipster (he really spit it out) rides by on his bike and nearly hits me and totally splashes me!
Both are bearded, both are wearing plaid, both are eating charcuterie throughout.
It’s cheaper than going out. Always. Even if I splurge on the rib chops.
Suggested reasons to accept invitations even on terrible nights:
You know your host is making 5x more of an effort with this dinner than you were going to make with your own, so it’s going to be good. Plus it’s free.
You already have a bottle of wine you can bring over as a contribution. If there’s one thing you adequately stockpile for hibernation, it’s wine.
Hibernation weight is a thing. You could space out that takeout food you’ve been ordering. And the episodes of Friday Night Lights. Especially since you’ve already seen them.
Friends!! Awww it would be so nice to see them.
It’s fine, it’s just weather out there, you can do this.
So I tempt friends with food and the promise of a stress-free evening, I crank up the heat up in the house hours before they arrive and I hope it’s enough. The menu here is intended to draw your friends out on a soggy weekend in April. It’s nice enough, I think, for a small Easter lunch. It’s maybe a little lighter than winter fare, but I promise there’s still lots of butter. I hope there are just enough reasons and recipes in this issue 015: AN APRIL SHOWERS MENU, of Le Sauce Magazine for you to lure your bests around. Get it here: lesauce.com/app.