We were invited to the Landis home for dinner last week, because of my ‘mooch off of other people for a year thing’, as Dalen so eloquently put it. Luckily, we squeezed the mooch in just before the apocalypse hit Alberta.
Dalen and Lisa live in the County, where dogs apparently live outside. Imagine how difficult it was when this little fella, name unknown (Butters, in some circles), bounded up to me, begging for pets and I wasn’t allowed to bring him indoors. We spent a couple of minutes on the front steps, enjoying one another’s company. I felt it was a test of sorts: What was more important – free food or puppy cuddles? Puppy cuddles almost won.
I did end up entering the house eventually. Between dinner prep and kid chaos, no one noticed my delayed entrance. There was some confusion on Milo’s part when I gave him a pack of pepperoni and bag of carrots as a thank you gift but he quickly got over it, especially once Jeff hit the floor to play Hot Wheels with him.
I was told that dinner preparation began the evening before, when Dalen and Lisa made homemade pasta from about 6 pm to midnight. For the record, this is far more effort than I’ve ever put in when they’ve been to our house for dinner. Also, we haven’t been eating a lot of pasta lately (for no real reason other than we haven’t been cooking it) and I LOVE HOMEMADE PASTA! Total fluke on the Landis’ part as I’ve never confessed this to them.
In addition to the Landis family, Aaron, Jane and Rya joined us for dinner. This made for six adults, three kids and approximately 26 pounds of delicious pasta. Since Jeff was busy playing Hot Wheels, I was tasked with peeling shrimp, and I’m happy to report, I almost did it perfectly.
As an observer, I would say Dalen was the head chef, particularly because he seemed to have no problems barking orders at his sous chef, Lisa, or his random kitchen helper (me). I would also say that Lisa was a very efficient sous chef, dicing tomatoes, finishing her appetizer (pictured below) and completing whatever tasks came up. I, on the other hand, only peeled shrimp. And, even at that, Aaron ended up with a bit of shell on his plate.
Dinner itself consisted of shrimp and scallop Alfredo with asparagus on the side. The pasta was so delicious I ate two massive plates of it. I’m pretty sure I had a gym date the following day so we’ll call it carb loading.
This was our first dinner party with a real family vibe to it. Having the kids around certainly made it different than previous resolution dinners but, I enjoy that fun nuttiness that comes when they’re involved. I was invited to curl up bed and watch Pokemon with Naseem and Milo after dinner, and given how much I ate, a potential nap sounded lovely. Instead, I chose to stay at the grown up table and play Code Names (a game I am fairly horrible at).
There is a definite theme developing at these dinners – each one, so far, has included a game. In January, I started strong at Yahtzee but crashed and burned by the end. I excelled at Ticket to Ride in February, leaving everyone in my dust. I was terrible from the start at Code Names and feel I’ll never really be good at this particular game. Luckily, my game playing skills don’t seem to affect my dinner invitations.
Thanks to Dalen, Lisa, Naseem (who refused to be photographed) and Milo for inviting us out. The company was as good as the food, even with Aaron joining us. Hopefully, the snow will soon melt, the pandemic will pass and all of those patio dinner invitations will begin rolling in…