I kind of don't like restaurants anymore.
Well, I never really liked them. Wine lists intimidate me, waiters annoy me and the white tablecloths just straight up humiliate me as I spill everything and anything onto the immaculately clean surface.
In my teens, my mum made me watch a movie on dinner party etiquette to ensure I would behave like a real lady in any fine dining situation. This VHS gem from the '70s explained everything from sipping soup to buttering bread, but the only thing I managed to retain was the placement of knives and forks. You use the cutlery from the outside in.
Now, as soon as I'm seated I seem to regress into a childlike state. I remember once as I was passionately delivering a story to a table of friends, gesturing wildly like us Italians do, a waiter pulled me aside and advised me to sit on my hands while I was talking to avoid any accidents. Low point.
Food from friends is full of love. It doesn't matter if you're eating cheapskate sausages or a pricey bit of steak, innate comfort and an uninterrupted flow of stimulating conversation is priceless.
I hate the awkwardness of it all; I never know whether to continue conversation while the waiter is in earshot and so, I end up trying to include them in our chat like an actual crazy person. I get embarrassed when asked to taste wine, and I have to Google fancy ingredients on a regular basis.
Luckily, my late twenties have become about dining with friends in the comfort of our collective homes and this suits me just fine.
Firstly, you can eat what you want when you want. My friendship group is full of great cooks with fine taste, who deliver delicious, nutritious spreads. I appreciate their cooking far more than any fancy pants degustation stuff. Anyone with allergies can bring their own bespoke dish to enjoy and not feel like an imposition to a restaurant team. Moreover, if you do have an allergic reaction, or just eat too much cheese for your lactose intolerant belly to handle (like me), you can hover over a friend's toilet free from judgement and let it out, literally.
We can also drink delicious wine with no exorbitant restaurant mark up, or consume custom cocktails if someone is feeling creative. And if the alcohol goes to your head and you feel worse for wear, you can have a little nap in your best friend's boudoir and re-join the party when the room has stopped spinning.
At our age we're all a bit skint, saving for something big; babies, cars, houses or holidays, and eating at home is a lot cheaper. Plus, food from friends is full of love. It doesn't matter if you're eating cheapskate sausages or a pricey bit of steak, innate comfort and an uninterrupted flow of stimulating conversation is priceless.
Humble hangouts over extravagant eateries any day.
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