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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hold the Stuffed Cabbage, please!

I am a planner. I arrive on time or early for appointments. I know what I like and the only time I will deviate is after careful deliberation, research, or an unexplainable change of heart.

Planning on having dinner with a good friend, she approached me about bringing her daughter and honestly, for a minute or two, I was worried. Would this greatly change the dynamic of the dinner? Would it be like the two friends who typically ride the see-saw at recess and when a third friend wants to join, she is forced to stand on the side, staring down at her shoes until one of the original friends gets off the ride? I offered to reschedule and allow the mother and home-for-a-quick-visit-from-college-daughter have the night for themselves. "No," my friend answered, "I want you both."

Well, I decided to speak directly and shared my concern about boring her daughter. After we talked it over, dinner was on, for 3.

At the restaurant, my friend and her daughter quickly decided on their meals. It took a moment for me to confirm my drink order - an unsweetened iced tea, my friend had the same and her daughter, an iced water with lemon. Simple. Crisp. Clean.

We were early, the dining room was fairly empty and we were not in any rush. We talked. We discussed books, recent trips and travels, the community and oh yes, we circled back to books. My friend loves classic literature and though once or twice a year she can convince me to read something she has recommended, I mostly balk at the idea and get through the book so we can compare notes and move on. Since I love a good analogy, I basically told her reading Faulkner, while enjoyable for some, is the equivalent to me of stuffed cabbage - simply not my taste.

My cravings range from light fare, junk food, trendy bites and the occasional simply for sustenance meal (much like some non-fiction) and while I'm sure fabulous versions of stuffed cabbage do exist, it will never be a first choice for me.

Our actual meals arrive hot on warm plates and we barely miss a beat as we continue the conversation while savoring our food choices. Rather than looking or feeling like those three children on the playground with two on the see-saw and one standing by, we have found our own more practical way to get along by all riding the merry go round. One takes a turn pushing it around, while the other two coast and enjoy the story. Three, we decide, is not really a crowd.

Penne a la Vodka

Grilled Steak Wrap

Mountain View Bleu Burger

The restaurant is now fairly busy with tables of six or more. Families and friends celebrating and one round of Happy Birthday is sung. Wanting to linger a little longer and talk a little more, one coffee order and one dessert order and we are allowed to keep the table for a bit longer.

A warm apple pie with walnuts, ice and whipped cream drizzled with caramel sauce -

Eventually, our evening comes to an end and I am home fairly quickly, reflecting on the night. It's ok to change your mind, trying new things is encouraged, and sharing ideas may yield a new and embraceable thought. I am looking forward to finding the next great book to read, the next wonderful meal with family or friends and though I know it probably won't be stuffed cabbage, I might just try a forkful.

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