Photo Credits: Andrew SteinEureka. A Dinner Was Born.
During the gigantic snow storm a few weeks ago a wondrous idea was hatched. Sitting around a bar table with a couple of dear friends, we pondered the idea of having a progressive dinner. Since life in Cambridge is relatively close-knit and entirely walkable, it seemed like a pretty "duh" idea to plan a meal and simply meader from house to house. I honestly don't know why we haven't done this before. The other part of this genius brainstorm included a longing to improve our bar tending skills. Combining the two ideas, one perfect creation was birthed: The Progressive Palate. A progressive dinner based on Bourbon-themed cuisine and beverages. I know, sounds like foodie Heaven, right? RIGHT.
The Map + Menu.
Cocktails and Appetizers // Hale House - We served Ricotta and Pistachio stuffed Figs, Brie and Crackers served with Homemade Apple Butter, an assortment of winter fruits and... (drumroll please) Lemon-Mint Juleps. We were the only Southerners in this crew, so we had to represent. Juleps were just the ticket.
Dinner and Drinks // Tomasik House - The lovely Tomasiks served Bourbon-Barbeque Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, Spring Corn Bean Salad and straight up Bourbon on the rocks. Mmm. Walk time from our house to theirs? 6 minutes. (Disclaimer: That does not include the gear up time, i.e. donning coat, boots, scarf, hat, gloves... Snow is still on our ground, people.)
Dessert and Delights // Sachedina House - Petsi's Apple and Cherry Pie served with varied ice creams and assorted Bourbon, Baileys and Kahlua. Oh so yum. Walk time from their house to hers? 3.5 minutes. Not much of a need to "gear up" since the commute time is oh so short.
We ate. We drank. We howled with laughter. Stories were told, exotic travels recalled and perhaps a few impressions were thrown around... While the entire evening was a smashing success, there was one really special moment for me personally.
Lounging around the main course dinner table, we were discussing the Pope and his abrupt abdication of the Catholic throne. As I looked around the table, it dawned on me that these dear friends, these beloved and talented brainiacs, all represent a specific and eclectic origin completely dissimilar to my own incubated life experience. Each of us vary in our religion, ethnicity and upbringing. Each are at a different stage professionally, each pursuing a wildly different profession. Each tabletop opinion shaped by a specific worldly experience, whether it was growing up halfway across the Earth, celebrating a holiday I had never heard of or worshiping a deity I had, truthfully, never given much thought to. These precious people are more than a hometown homage to their flag or a trophy tribute to their culture; they are flesh and mind and smiles and spirit. This reverent moment stunned me. It painted a portrait fitting of my time here in Cambridge; a patchwork quilt of diversity drawing together fabric from around the globe. Surprising me with its texture and warmth and affection. I promise, this isn't the Bourbon talking. I was truly struck by how rare it is to have Muslims, Jews and Christians all share a meal in perfect, perfect harmony. In that moment, my prayer and awe were simple, "Let this make ripples around the world."
We had an alarming amount of fun. Naturally, the next Progressive Palate is already in the works. We're thinking Italian...?
I encourage you to try out your own dinner event! It can be silly, it can be swanky, but just remember that even though the food is important... the guests are truly the delight of the feast.