Dinner parties do not have to be many weeks in the making.  You can get together a group in less than a week or even a day or two.  Especially here and now, where people have a hard time committing ahead, it can often be the key to actually getting a group together.  So let’s say it’s Thursday and you’ve love to have butterflied leg of lamb done on the grill, but at my house that’s too much for the two of us.  So, since we have friends we cook and eat with regularly, we make calls/send emails.  Odds are within a day we will have four people happy to join us for dinner on Saturday night.  Everyone agrees to bring drinks and someone offers a basket of peaches from their tree. Come Saturday night, we have some nice cheese coming to room temperature on the counter to be served as an hors d’oeuvre along with crackers from the cabinet and an assortment of olives.  There will be tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market, the lamb is marinating in the frig along with a gratin of potatoes that will go into the oven when we start the grill, the table is set (outside because it’s a warm night,) and we have a peach cobbler that’s just come out of the oven (ready to be served with the Trader Joe’s vanilla ice cream we keep in the freezer for just such occasions.) This meal demands bread and there are great bakeries if you don’t want to make it yourself.  6:30 is the witching hour tonight, so once wine has been opened and drinks poured, six people gather around a table to eat, drink, laugh, talk and  generally enjoy each others company.

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