At five minutes to six this evening, one of my sons appeared with two friends in tow. I've known these kids since daycare, though had not seen Coco for 3-4 years, and Robin recently returned from two years in Halifax.
A half-hour before dinner, which is moules mariniere (with a sauce of fennel, tomatoes, onions, pernod, white wine, a dash of butter), bread to soak up the sauce, and a salad we greeted a couple of extras, and my heart rose. I deeply enjoy dining with these young people, all of whom love food.
(One of my fond memories is when I spotted them, in early high school years, clustered at a table at the French café where two of them now work, spending their modest allowances on pain au chocolat.
Robin brought two exquisite tarts, one mixed fruits, one pumpkin, from that café, where he's just started waiting, provided by the generous owner who'd mistakenly predicted holiday sales.
His shy pleasure in presenting them is the real gift.
Le Duc, a man with a plan, rolls his eyes for a split second and gets over it. The table is laid, he dashes out for another fougasse.
I plug in my iPod with a 20-something friendly playlist, open bottles of rosé.
During the high school years we had frequent impromptu dinner guests, so routine that we regularly cooked for an extra. We pick up where we left off, with vital, funny young adults. Robin simply can't stop eating.
This feels like Thanksgiving (which, here in Canada, is tomorrow). I'm so grateful to see these children, relaxed and affectionate in their friendship, so rooted without quite realizing it, happy and cared for by us, and their families.