Nibbles and Tidbits

When Clif and I were younger and my knees weren’t as creaky, we liked nothing better than to cook up a storm and to have people over for dinner. Sometimes the gatherings were smallish—eight to ten people—and sometimes they were largish—twenty or more. Those were the days when I got out of bed like a shot and could zoom through the day.

Sad to say, but those days are gone. I keep busy with my writing, my gardens, and my home, but I don’t have the zip of my younger years. Nevertheless, we still like having people come over for a visit. Somehow, it is cozier to gather in a home than it is to meet in a restaurant, no matter how casual the place.

As the saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way, and we have figured out how to entertain so that it doesn’t take a toll on my creaky knees. Our first strategy has been to have people come over midafternoon for tea and coffee. Most of our friends are retired and now have a flexible schedule. Making up a batch of bars, muffins, or quick bread is no problem at all, and what a pleasure it is to gather around the dining room table and talk. Also, a midafternoon event usually gives me enough time to write in the morning, which is something I do six days a week.

Our second strategy, for friends who have not retired, is to have a nibbles and tidbits gathering late afternoon, around 3:30 or 4:00. On Saturday, this is what we did, and here is what we served.

I am happy to report that the tomatoes and cucumbers came from my little back garden.

Last Saturday, we invited our friend Jill over. Years ago, Jill came to Maine from New York City, and how we met her is an interesting story.

When our daughter Dee graduated from Bard College, she decided to move to New York City. Her first job was with Macmillan Publishing, and one of her first bosses was Jill.

One day, when we were talking on the phone to Dee, she said, “Guess what? My boss Jill is moving to Maine.”

Really? To Maine from New York City?

“Yeah,” Dee continued. “And she’s planning on moving to central Maine, in the Waterville/Augusta area, where you live.”

What the heck is she going to do here?

“She’s going to work for Thorndike Press in Waterville. They publish large print books.”

Well, son of a biscuit. That was the last thing we expected to hear, and we wondered how someone who lived in Manhattan would adjust to living in central Maine.

As it turned out, Jill has adjusted just fine and loves it here. Over the years, we have become friends, and we always look forward to getting together with her.

On Saturday, Jill brought over chips, salsa, and an utterly delicious homemade guacamole, which we scoffed down. (Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of her lovely tray of food.) We talked into the early evening, the conversation ranging from family to politics to books.

We didn’t solve the problems of the world, but we sure made a stab at it.

But one thing is certain—having nibbles and tidbits with friendsΒ  is a fine way to entertain.




58 thoughts on “Nibbles and Tidbits”

  1. I have had friends in the past who made dinner party giving a competetive sport – who could cook the most elaborate food, have the fanciest table setting or whatever. Having people round for morning coffee or tea and cake in the afternoon is much less work and just as enjoyable.

  2. That’s my favorite way to entertain! Or dessert and coffee. If you come to dinner at my house, you’ll probably get take out. πŸ˜„

  3. You made me smile with your memories. I remember taking a day off to cook and bake all day so we could have a large gathering that evening. I worked at a frenzied pace, but got it all done. No way today. You have solved the issue with two wonderful options. It is always good to have a friend with a family history stop by. Your veggies look wonderful. πŸ™‚

  4. Much more relaxed than serving a full blown dinner which we did at the weekend – albeit it only for a few friends. I still haven’t got over doing housework all afternoon only to have everybody sit outside in the garden anyway.

  5. I don’t entertain much now but when I do its a potluck. Less stress, affordable and my friends enjoy making a dish.

  6. I love your tradition! What a nice idea. Your tomatoes look delicious, Laurie. My crop is rather paltry this season so I’m a little envious as I know what I’m missing. I hope you are dong well.

  7. Like you we have changed our routines since retiring & now try to meet friends during the day either at home or at a local coffee shop. Home is best, as we get older we find the noise level in many places just too high.. so it was lovely to see your afternoon spread … so much easier to organise. Enjoy your writing & friendly get -togethers.

    1. I know just what you mean about the noise levels. They can be deafening. And making a batch of muffins to go along with tea and coffee is no trouble.

  8. This all sounds lovely. You have good reason to be proud – those tomatoes and cucumbers have taken full advantage of your short growing season.

  9. I must try this. I like the idea of drinks and nibbles. Just a couple weekends ago, some gardening neighbors invited me back to their place for a drink–and it was lovely. Just s short interlude after the garden and then I went home and made dinner after having had a nice chat!

  10. We would much rather visit with friends in the kitchen preparing snacks or a meal, then step out to our porch (covered for sun or rain) or deck to enjoy the harvest. Going out to a restaurant does not bring the freshness of what we can pick a few steps from our kitchen, nor the vistas from our home. Happy summer visits. – Oscar

Comments are closed.