Last night I threw a dinner party. Moroccan Chicken with lemon and green olives. Date/orange couscous. My friend Lee brought Beets with cumin and mint. Lysa brought spinach salad with lemon vinaigrette. Bruce brought "crack pie." Suzanne brought chocolate/stout brownies (in a nod to St. Patties day). Simon and Ed brought their wicked senses of humor. Kristin and Kaveh (the guests of honor) brought their wonderful selves; we were here to celebrate their recent promotion and tenure, an event that had slipped by in the busyness of this quarter.
We toasted. We ate. We laughed. We ate some more. We laughed some more. We lingered at the table a long time. The conversation took bizarre twists and turns. The circus got brought up a lot, for some reason. So did raisins.
I thought I was too busy to throw a dinner party. A dinner party takes a lot of work. You have to decide on a menu. You have to make a shopping list. You have to shop. You have to clean your bedraggled house. You have to cook. You have to make a last-minute run to the home store for more wine glasses and forks (where DO all the wine glasses and forks go?) You have to open the table wide enough to seat 10. You have to take a shower, make yourself decent (not an easy task at the end of finals week....)
And I loved every minute of it.
It's a simple truth: the things you love best give energy, rather than deplete it. It's certainly one way to know when you're on the right path.
Another thing: NEVER pass up an opportunity to celebrate.
And eat as much Date/orange couscous as possible:
Boil 2 cups of water, with 1 Tblsp. oil, 2 Tblsp. fresh-squeezed orange juice, and a bunch of grated orange zest. Chop a handful of dates and throw them in there too.
Pour in 1.5 cups dry couscous (I used Trader Joe's whole wheat couscous.) Add a palmful of salt.
Give a good stir, then take off the heat and let steep, covered, for about 10 minutes.
Take the lid off the pot and smell the orange essence. Fluff up the couscous with a large fork. Transfer to a pretty serving dish. Garnish with twists of orange.(I ate the leftovers for breakfast today with yogurt and maple syrup. And I just had some for a snack just now, with yogurt and almonds. It's a magical never-ending pot of goodness....)