can meatballs change my life?


Recently, I read a piece on Serious Eats that seriously resonated with me– it promised to change my life, WITH PASTA. Pasta is basically my favorite food after cheese, so if there’s a way to change my life by eating more of it, I’m interested. In the piece, writer Sarah Grey talks in almost spiritual terms about what seems to be a sort of secular sabbath: the community created around what has become a weekly tradition of an open dinner party that centers around meatballs. Simple idea, simple meal, huge impact. 

Being that I, too, tend to speak in fairly spiritual terms about the power of a shared meal, I immediately wanted to try it. I shared the idea on Facebook, and a bunch of people replied that they’d be interested in such a gathering as well. So, I decided to make it happen. I started looking up meatball recipes. I checked our schedule. And I posted an open invitation on Facebook for the first 10 friends who wanted to join us. All the spots were taken within 24 hours. They include people I see all the time, and a few that I have only barely met. And yet I’m looking so forward to spending time with all of them, and finding out if these meatballs, which I already made, are any good. Tonight is the night!

Do you share my belief in the life-changing, community-building power of a shared meal? Do you have any regular traditions involving gathering around the table?


Image above via Flickr user Dan McKay under a Creative Commons license.

7 Replies to “can meatballs change my life?”

  1. I posted the same article last week, having been similarily struck. But I’m not brave enough to emulate the open door policy. I’ll be curious to learn how it works out in practice!


    1. I wasn’t brave enough to open the invite to Twitter, so I’m hoping my “only people I’ve met in person with a few notable exceptions” policy for Facebook friends keeps the guest list from getting too weird. Plus, most people who would be bad apples have probably hidden me long ago and didn’t see the invite anyway ;)


  2. I love this idea! We recently did a Capital View/Stifft’s Station neighbor potluck, and that was a big hit. I think the weekly cleanup would wear us out, but I love the idea of some sort of regularity for socializing.


    1. Yeah, I think weekly is just not do-able for me, either, largely because of my husband’s work schedule. I’m aiming for twice a month as an optimistic goal. I will say, one nice thing about meatballs is: I made sauce and meatballs ahead of time, so they were in the crock pot, and the only other dish I dirtied was the big pot I boiled the pasta in. Others brought salads and bread, and everyone just used one plate, one fork, and one glass each, so it was pretty easy to just throw everything in the dishwasher and be done right after the guests left.


  3. I love this idea. I love shabbat because it forces me to put my phone away, sit down, and live in the moment (that is.. the few times I’ve observed it.. I am a rather lax Jew on the religious front…) Good reminder to go back to tradition I think, but we have the same problem as you with the work schedule. We’re actually doing this Friday night for Rosh Hashanah now that I come to think of it!


    1. Molly– I hope your Rosh Hashanah observance is meaningful! I think it’s a powerful arrow of truth that so many religious traditions center around shared meals and communal gatherings– they answer a need somewhere deep in our human hearts, and they facilitate the kind of meaningful connection we all hunger for.


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