The Laotian households of my youth were always open to guests. It seemed there was often a celebration or get-together somewhere and even when there wasn’t there was a standing invitation to dinner. “Ma, der” is the term used to urge someone to come eat with you.
Our social calendar has been fairly full so far this year with dinner parties and outings. A few highlights from the past 6 weeks:
February’s dinner party was beef pho. I browned some bones, toasted a gajillion spices and boiled it all together low and slow with some turkey stock I had in the freezer. I also made a vegetarian version for Daniel. It was also a great excuse to go downtown and buy enough noodle bowls for my guests.
Another time, I hankered for summer and got to make a corn soufflé for folks, which we ate with sausages and salad.
We took up an impromptu triple date to the local pub, where it seems everyone had a fox, raccoon, or squirrel story to tell. I had the pork tenderloin and worked my way through their martini specials.
The March dinner party was vegetarian shepherd’s pie and radicchio salad. This involved chopping 12 cups of vegetables and boiling six pounds of potatoes. Dan made the salad and everyone brought wine to drink.
I hosted the March book group, for which we read Hilary Jordan’s first book, “Mudbound.” I hadn’t intended to read it, but found it for a quarter at the ReStore and plowed through it one Saturday. For this I made grits, collards, and roast squash.
One Saturday, we drove to Hanover for a wedding with an excellent Thai food buffet and then drove to Essex for a vodka party, where I tasted a dozen different vodka varieties and ate blinis with caviar and pimento olives en croute.
Not counting all the post-work receptions, lunch dates, and martini meet-ups, we’ve had a pretty busy start to the year. And to the rest of the year, we say, “Ma, der.”