I grew up in the Midwest, went to school on the East Coast, and then moved out to the West Coast. I have loved every place that I have lived, and have loved the people that I lived there with even more. It has been incredibly hard for me to move from people that I love so deeply, even though I know that I’ve always made the right decisions to move.
Luckily we live in a digital world, and I haven’t had to completely lose my close friends. I know there is a lot of talk about how the internet divides us and takes away from real relationships, but I have not found this to be true. The internet has allowed me to maintain extremely close friendships with my very dearest friends even though I can only see them in person once/year.
Even with my full support of the internet and social networking, I will admit that I laughed out loud when my best friend’s parents invited their daughter and son-in law and my husband and I to a virtual dinner a few weeks ago. I accepted, not really sure what I was getting into. My best friend proceeded to email us a menu, complete with recipes and a wine selection so that we could all eat the same meal.
So last Sunday we signed onto iChat at 5 pm Pacific time. Sara and Chris signed on at 7 pm Central time. Sara’s parents, Christie and Mark, signed on at 8 pm Eastern time. We all pulled our Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan out of the oven, served it over organic pasta, and toasted with Cabernet Sauvignon. It was awesome. The three-way video chat worked even better than I could have hoped for. We got to try new recipes and discuss them. We got to joke and talk just like if we were all eating in the same room.
Because of the success of the first virtual dinner, Sara and I planned a girls dinner with another close friend for this evening before the Oscars. The menu: Soup, Salad, optional Sandwich, and Cake. See below the cut at the end of the post for the recipes.
I foresee many virtual dinners in my future. Thank you to the amazing people who made the internet possible!
To plan your own virtual dinner:
- Email out invitations well in advance with a full menu so that all participants have time to get the ingredients.
- Choose interesting and new recipes that you can try out together.
- Do a trial run on iChat in advance to be sure everyone knows how to use their camera and join the chat.
- Don’t try more than 3 locations. We added a 4th one for a few minutes, and everyone’s video turned into Monet paintings.
- Have headphones handy in case there is too much feedback/echo happening.
Have any of you had virtual dinners before? What have you found to work well? What doesn’t work at all?
This is a salad modeled after the one served at my wedding. I think it was my favorite part of the meal. Yummm!
- Baby greens
- Apples, cubed or sliced
- Gorgonzola (or bleu) cheese, crumbled
- Walnuts, chopped
- Serve with Raspberry vinaigrette
Cream of Tomato Soup
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or 2 lbs fresh, peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 cup light cream or milk
- Salt and pepper
- Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onion, carrot, and garlic and cook until softened, 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes with their juices, broth, tomato paste, and basil.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer stirring frequently, 15 minutes.
- In a blender, puree soup in batches until smooth (or leave some chunky).
- Return to pan and stir in cream.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Simmer until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes, and serve.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- French bread
- Colby Jack cheese
- You know how to make a grilled cheese.
Chocolate Pudding Cake
Recipe here: http://gluegunannie.com/?p=144