Sometimes it’s not what you eat but who you eat it with that counts

The last couple of days have been filled with some very sociable meals.  Last night I had friends from work around to dinner and today I went out for lunch with my old flatmate.  I love a meal with friends; a chance to gossip, have a drink and eat something.

Last night I cooked a homemade Nandos and followed it with my blueberry cupcakes; we drank wine, we gossiped about work, our families and Eurovision. We had a fantastic evening that felt worlds away from the high pressured environment we work in together.   Today I ate lamb kebabs with couscous salad and flatbreads at a local pub.  It wasn’t the best meal I’ve eaten, but that’s not the point; I had a great time catching up with my friend.

I have a funny relationship with eating out;  I love the idea of going out for a meal and I’m keen to try new restaurants and styles of food, but so often I’m disappointed.  On our wedding anniversary we went to a local gastropub and had their three course set menu.  I had to send my starter back as it was undercooked pretty much raw in the middle really and when we got the final bill they had charged us for each individual item rather than charging us the significantly cheaper set menu price.   For once I managed to overcome my British politeness gene and complain, in a very quiet polite voice of course!

I always feel that it’s not just the food that forms my overall opinion of the eating out experience but it’s more the company and atmosphere of the time spent sharing a meal.  There have been occasions when I’ve been out with a group of people I don’t know all that well and, even if the food has been amazing, I don’t take away great memories of the meal as the company hasn’t been enjoyed as much.

As a result of experiences like this we sometimes play it safe and go to old favourites with old favourites!  We used to joke that my Dad kept a local curry house open because he ate there so much!  It’s often a more relaxed evening if you eat in as there’s no pressure to finish your meal so that the restaurant can have the table ready for the next booking.  I think this is also what has made me such a keen home cook; I love to spend a whole evening reading recipe books or blogs to find a something new to try and inflict it on share it with friends and family.  I’m just glad they’re willing to try some of my creations!

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