Dining, lunching or breakfasting with friends at home is increasingly uncommon these days. We travel a block from our lovely homes to drink a cuppa with friends at a coffee shop. We spend rands and rands on restaurant cuisine instead of making use of our own kitchens. We sit in crowded malls or under umbrellas on the pavements instead of in our own gardens.
In these heady days of early retirement I have made a point of asking friends home and setting a table somewhere on the verandah or the lawn. March days are mild and pleasant in Pretoria and after the summer rains, our gardens are lush and green. This Friday I took out an antique tablecloth that I had forgotten I possessed, the silver and pink dinner set and my aunt's ivory handled, engraved silver knives and forks. The meal was simple: French tuna quiche (a recipe for dummies - the secret is in using whole cream to beat with the eggs), a panini from my favorite deli, a tossed salad with lots of avocado, finished with a dessert of organic Greek yoghurt in elegant champagne glasses topped with nuts and raw honey. The friends - Noleen and Petro (Salome missed the picture) - and I have shared decades teaching together at the university. The conversation never waned from noon till 4pm. There was no waiter to hurry us, no loud music to talk over, no menu item that disappointed and best of all, no bill to pay.
Eating out is a fun luxury but eating in is better. What do you think?