The Kitchen: On Getting Cooked For

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Now and then, someone else offers to make dinner.

Last Thursday night, after a trip to look at wedding gowns with an engaged friend, we met her husband-to-be and his colleagues for a Caipirinha, as they were on a work-related research mission to sample a certain brand of rum. The rum project turned out to be fairly tame, and after one round, we decided to call it a night. As we parted ways on Spring Street, the husband-to-be (we'll call him HTB) offered to have me join them for dinner. My own husband was traveling, so my dinner probably would've been an egg and wilted greens.

"Come have dinner with us! I'm cooking from the garden!"

My friend, the wife-to-be, told me that in their apartment, this means he's going to Gourmet Garage.

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So we walked the dog, and HTB went to the garden, returning, rather miraculously as far as gardens (and garages) go, with a harvest of wild mushroom ravioli and tomato sauce!

In about thirty minutes HTB was pouring us wine and dishing up dinner for us at a table complete with linens and a candle; the whole treatment.

I was in heaven.

My mother, also in the food business, warned me that the problem with being in the business is that people never want to cook for you. Silly, but true. Shy? Intimidated? I guess. The fact is, I think any meal cooked with intention is wonderful. When someone else offers to cook dinner, it is an offering. The other fact is, I don't always hit home runs with my cooking.

HTB waxed poetic as he plated his pre-made ravioli ("a subtle mélange of pesto ravioli and wild mushroom ravioli with a mild puntanesca, not too strong to overwhelm the woodsy flavors of the mushrooms") and tossed his pre-washed arugula with a simple dressing ("a balsamic Dijon vinaigrette with hints of acidity that perfectly complement the bitterness of the leaves") as the girls giggled with joy.

Home runs, all around.

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.