I started Meal by Meal in the spring of 2007. The challenge? To throw bi-weekly dinner parties as a tonic for the isolation that ailed me as a new mother. Too broke to hire babysitters and too tired to go out, my husband and I were becoming TV-addicted recluses. We had worked our way through all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and were midway into the follow-up series Angel, when it dawned on me that I knew more about the inner-workings of shows’ characters then I did most of my friends. Working at home and being a part-time homemaker didn’t exactly leave much time for water-cooler conversation, and while I had met nice parents at preschool and daycare, everyone seemed too busy with their New York lives for any real connection.
In a small, mostly unkempt apartment with a sad excuse for a kitchen, I started to cook. I invited friends, acquaintances, even my husband’s colleagues to dinner. I made twenty-five meals in twelve months that first year––and have continued to cook for others, although not as often, in the remaining two. While the dishes didn’t match, the floors weren’t spotless and sometimes ingredients were store-bought, our dinner parties brought a richness and social quality to our lives that may have not happened otherwise. Cooking for people, then sitting down to eat with them, was joyful, intimate, sometimes messy––but mostly gratifying. Plates were passed, wine was poured, and stories unfolded over the course of the evening. Even our children benefited from our parties––they moved through the world with a greater sense of community and belonging. I guess this is a long-winded way of saying the experiment worked!
Over the past few months though, I have found less and less time to update, and less things to update about. The dinner parties have become so ingrained into the ebbs and flows of our lives that there is less left to say about this particular topic. I hope to begin other food-related projects, both as an advocate for better school lunches in the New York City public school system and through my writing. Thank you all for reading about my adventures and now, you can follow me on Twitter, where I'll post food, cooking and NYC parenting tips.
Finally, I leave you with five of my favorite Meal by Meal posts: