I am reminded of the film, The Big Night as I clean the leftover glassware, scrub the last pots and put the furniture back into place on Monday night. Our refrigerator is now packed with small containers of colorful sauces and the small packed remains of assorted vegetables from last night’s dining event. What I remember and love about the film, is the food—the care, excitement, and challenges with the extensive preparation and the bringing together a disparate group of individuals to enjoy the carefully prepared feast. There is the music, the family, the friends, all gathered to experience the event together. Then there is the drama, the conflict and the peace. The meal experience is transformative, and the film invites us to have a seat at the table. Food, film and music have a way of bringing us together, challenging our expectations, and solidifying the bonds between us. We hopefully go forward nourished in so many ways.
Although the movie was memorable, experiencing my own “Big Night” was magical. I am reflecting and savoring the memories of the feast that I was treated to in my home on Sunday evening. My son Ethan, now obsessed with food and his brother (also interested but less obsessed with the culinary craft) along with the assistance of bartender friend, Deb and a former chef and family friend, Nate created and executed their own “Big Night” for a group of 11 adults – many never having met before Sunday.
The boys spent weeks planning and testing dishes for their eight course meal, selecting the music, inviting the guests. They spent the weekend cooking with Nate while Deb carefully crafted cocktails to perfectly pair with each dish. I had the pleasure of setting the table, selecting the flowers, and dining as a guest. What unfolded was a meal that surpassed my expectations. Each course was carefully plated, delivered with an explanation about the ingredients and special cooking techniques. The accompanying cocktail had its own story about the flavor paring. I was amazed by the creative and collaborative efforts it took to put together this experience for the rest of us to enjoy.
At one point during the meal, the guest next to me exclaimed, “Wow – this is a palette thriller!”
After the meal was done, and the guests had left, Ethan sat down for the first time all day reflecting on what he had done, pleased with what they crafted in the kitchen and rewarded by the compliments from the guests as they left.
A “Big Night” in so many ways. I am thankful to have had a seat at the table.