So Internet, I have this terrific beloved friend who really likes food. She likes Actual Food the way I like Dessert. You know? She's the sort of person who asks the waiter what's good that night and can't decide between things like beets and fennel and she'll have four bites of chocolate cake before declaring she's full, etc. etc. I know, Internet. How can I be friends with such a person? But her inability to pound chocolate chips aside, she's one of my favorite people.
What she really wanted to do for her birthday, which was in DECEMBER btw, was go to a cooking class with friends. But because food Matters, it couldn't be just any cooking class. I forget what the exact requirements were, but I do know that one option was rejected because "Maggie wouldn't eat it". (Now you are allowed to wonder why she is friends with ME.)
But Pancakes happens to know someone who is An Aspiring Personal Chef. And recently I got to know this person as well. And we were hanging out, eating sushi actually (well, they were eating sushi, I was eating potstickers) and Pancakes came up with the Most Perfect Idea. Our friend couldn't find a cooking class she liked, but we could give her her own private dinner party!
So we picked a date, the Aspiring Chef planned five courses, I cleaned my house and made a cute menu, and you guys, it was seriously the Best Thing Ever. I am mad I didn't think of it myself. It's so awesome when you come up with the PERFECT GIFT for one of your favorite people, especially when it's not something you would ever pick for yourself. (I told the Aspiring Chef that when she does this for my birthday (since we decided this is just what we should do for our birthdays from now on) it will be five courses of dessert. Can you even imagine?! HAPPY GLUTTONOUS SIGH.)
We kept it a surprise until a few days before, when we sent our friend a fancy invitation inviting her to a private dinner in her honor. It was just so! fun! And it really was just the perfect thing. We sat around my table talking and talking and talking while the Aspiring Chef bustled around my kitchen, occasionally interjecting in our conversation. She plated everything and SERVED us and you guys, the food was SO GOOD. I mean, I'd given myself a big pep talk on Trying Everything and Being A Grown Up, but I didn't HAVE TO. Everything was DELICIOUS. Even things I've been VERY suspicious of, like FENNEL. I should go on and on about how the Aspiring Chef was so talented, but really I'm just stinking proud of myself for enjoying Grown Up Food.
Anyway, I am telling you all this because I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING IT YOURSELF. I thought it would be fun, but it was way more fun than I expected. It just felt very SPECIAL, I think. And it was special for the Aspiring Chef too, because this is a dream of hers and we were her first 'job' and she did SO well. If you have a handful of friends that you can sit and talk to for hours AND you like to eat while you do so, this is really the best way to hang out with them. It's a super fun present. Now go plan it. (If you are local, let me give you Aspiring Chef's info!)