As women, we're usually responsible for getting dinner on the table; often we don't take the time to thoroughly enjoy the meals and feasts we create for our families. And, between work and family obligations, it's hard for us to find time to get together with our girlfriends. Yet, friendships need nurturing and attention in order to thrive and grow. One of the best ways to enjoy good food and good friends is to set aside one day a month for a women-only get together.
While it's fun to go out with your girlfriends, it's really more relaxing to meet at someone's house. You can let your hair down, laugh as loudly as you'd like, and not have to worry about splitting the tab. Here, then are five great ideas for "girlfriend time."
1. An afternoon of pie. As women, baking together is a tradition that goes back for generations. Spend a Saturday afternoon baking a pie with your friends. Each person can lend a hand in making the pie, and then everyone can have a glass of wine and catch up while the pie's baking. Once it's out of the oven, you can all share in eating your creation.
2. An evening of bunco. If you've never played bunco, you won't understand the sheer fun and silliness of this dice game. You can look it up online, but all it takes is twelve competitive women, nine dice, scratch paper, and six pencils. My bunco group has been playing once a month for about eight years now, and it takes a force of nature to keep us from our monthly game. We take turns hosting the evening and making a pre-game dinner for our friends. Each of us has our specialties and we all look forward to Lynn's famous enchiladas, to Sherry's chicken and broccoli casserole, and Cindy's barbecue tri-tip. Each of us hosts one month a year, and the other eleven months we get to enjoy each other's cooking.
3. An afternoon of tea. Tea parties enjoyed a resurgence in popularity a few years ago, and in our over-caffeinated world there are still plenty of reasons to relax over tea and crumpets (or scones, or cucumber sandwiches). An afternoon tea party with friends is all the more fun if everyone dresses the part and you can come up with some lace doilies to add to the decor. Don't forget the teacakes!
4. A dinner club. A dinner club is perfect for girlfriends who are serious foodies. Set aside one night each month and alternate hosting duties, then select a cuisine for each month. The hostess provides the main course, and assigns a recipe to each of the other members, who make the dishes and bring them in this sophisticated potluck. It can work with four friends, but six is the perfect number.
5. Brunch with a twist. Almost by definition, brunch is a wonderful, leisurely meal. To keep the stress level down, make it a potluck - with a twist. Like the Food Network's "Iron Chef America" series, come up with a unique ingredient and ask each friend to use that ingredient in her dish. If you have adventuresome friends, make the secret ingredient something exotic. You can even have each person assign scores to each dish based on taste, plating, and originality in the use of the secret ingredient. As they say on the show, "Whose cuisine will reign supreme?"
Women, friends, and food are an unshakable combination. Make time for friends and food, and you'll nurture both yourself and your friends. Bon appetit!