I had the best dinner the other night.
Unlike many dinners, it wasn’t about the food. It was about the people. Sure, we had really good food â€“ a three-course meal that brought oohs and ahs as it was presented. Lobster ravioli as an appetizer, split among the group. Steak medallions, bacon-wrapped, with crisp green beans and a creamy risotto. Flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. It was the type of meal over which to linger . . . and linger . . . and linger. Four hours, to be exact.
The four of us had been trying to get together for months. We come from disparate backgrounds and represent an assortment of ages, but our careers have brought us together over the years and we find pleasure in each other’s company. Those same careers also keep us from getting together often.
But oh, when we do, it’s therapy for all concerned. We talked about our families, about issues in the workplace, about recent lessons learned and the mixed blessing of personal growth. We shared career goals that we would never venture to lay on the table anywhere else. We admitted foibles and what is currently challenging our minds. We shared news, good books, a few websites, andâ€”as all good friends doâ€”the food on our plates.
By the time the last sip of coffee was drunk and the plates had been cleared, we had consumed a lot more than food. We’d gained more insights into our lives than we had gained pounds; we’d digested more news than ravioli; we’d enjoyed more companionship than flavors.
So, while it’s definitely all about the food, it’s also about the setting, and the people with whom you are enjoying that food. That’s what a really good dinner is all about.