A Friendship forged by Food...


“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” CS Lewis

My wasband and I were very different people. He loved being the life of the party, pleasing people, meeting new people, in short: he is a people's person. Me on the other hand, not quite so much. In fact, I have on many occasions considered buying an island off the coast of Italy, with only me and an Internet connection of course.

When I was younger I was so much more accommodating, flexible (ok, this was meant literally and figuratively speaking), tolerant and maybe less judgemental (or as I call it - inexperienced...). I guess you get more selfish with age. Nowadays I prefer smaller groups of people - if any. 

I met my husband very late in my life, so we have different friend groups. This "his" friends and "my" friends scenario needed some additions, so I knew we needed some "our" friends.

Just before we got married, we had to attend a seminar for couples at the church, so I tagged along with him, not too excited to go. (Am I ever?) There my worst nightmare came to life: they asked us to join forces with one other couple to make a meal for the next gathering. I - hoping that there will be an uneven number of couples - immediately said that we do not need to join with another couple. If there is one thing I can do, it is making food, and I'd rather do it alone anyway. Before he could even react, a woman - dragging her unwilling husband behind her - targeted us, volunteering to join us. She said that her husband will make homemade quiche, if we will make salad and a pudding. She seemed very eager about this, but I could see her husband was not too happy. He didn't say a word either. 

My first impression was: Oh dear Lord, why me! And quiche??!! She may call it homemade, but volunteering her husband? I just knew it would be a Woolies-bought quiche. I am a cook and I don't even make a quiche from scratch for people I don't know. There are just some dishes (or people ;-) I don't waste my time on. 

Oddly enough, that is all I remember. I do not remember her husband or I saying a word. Maybe because she and my husband couldn't stop talking! The next week, we showed up there with my best pudding effort, very cynical to see what their quiches would look like. Well, I can tell you one thing, when he walked in there with his three types of fresh-out-of-the-oven-smelling-fantastic quiches, my mouth fell open. It was also the first time I saw him smile. Needless to say it was delicious! He was completely in his element, and so were we. One bite and I was won over. A friendship immediately formed!

The four of us stayed afterwards to clean up and started chatting. He admitted that he was very upset with his wife when she tried to make friends with us by teaming up with us for the cooking, he would have done it on his own. She said that she likes meeting new people, but that it terrifies him. He said that he would rather be behind the stove than in a room full of people. She said that he doesn't put an effort in to meet new people. And right there, between all the "he said" and "she said's", we found an exact clone of my wasband and I, but just with reversed roles.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

Now ten years later, I am still very good friends with them and with food! We tour the country in search of the best restaurants, we discover new deli's and butcheries, swap recipes and compare notes on our veggie gardens - although I drew the line at raising   chickens in my backyard - free organic eggs or not! 

What I really want to say, is that friends do add value to your life. There is definitely joy in meeting new people, getting exposed to their likes and dislikes, points of view and exciting new experiences. You are actually stunting your own growth if you live like a hermit, and deprive yourself of a lot of joy and great dinner parties! 

Shutting the world out also deprives other people of getting to know the real you. Everybody has a story, everybody has an opinion, and a lot of people are really interesting. Open yourself up to this and see how it makes your life more colourful.

Here's to great friendships and interesting people! Let us be grateful for people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom, or in this case: the icing on the cake.