The Gourmet Group
In the mid-seventies, Andy and moved to Denver so he could take a new position with Johns-Manville. This was an exciting time for us. We loved going into the mountains and visiting ski resorts like Vail and Aspen in the summers. We bought a home in a new neighborhood in Aurora, a suburb close to his office. Almost everyone on our block was about the same age and there were scads of kids, giving our block the nickname of "Rabbit Row."
Someone had started a gourmet group and we gladly joined in. It worked like this. There were six couples involved, and each couple was responsible for hosting two dinners during the year. The group met at the beginning of the year and members chose what kind of dinners they would host. They would be responsible for the entree and alcoholic beverages. In addition, the host assigned recipes for the dishes to complement the meal (sides and desserts) to the other members.
Many of us chose menus that featured cuisines associated with our own backgrounds. Andy and I put together a Polish menu, for example, to reflect his heritage. This always involved a lot of research with cookbooks from the library (long before you could do it online). Others chose French, Austrian, African, Italian and other types of foods. There were always lots of choices, so if you didn't like something or there had been a recipe failure, there was backup. People took the time to find appropriate wine, liquor and after-dinner drinks.
We loved getting out our wedding china, crystal and silver for these occasions. The kids were taken to a babysitter at another member's home for the evening, so we had the freedom to prepare. It was always great fun, although I remember a few disasters, like when we made plum dumplings for the Austrian menu using several electric skillets and shorted out the electricity, plunging the house into darkness! One couple took us to a resort in the mountains where they had a cabin and treated the group to a French-Canadian meal. Prior to the meal, we could ride horses in a ring. I managed to fall off, setting off great hilarity.
Most of us were on a limited budget, so it gave everyone a chance to have an elegant, interesting meal once a month. After a few years, however, the group disbanded due to people moving, divorces, etc. We have great memories of those times together.
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I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.