The pignoletto frizzante is appropriately chilled and bubbly, wedges of cantaloupe are topped with prosciutto di parma, mortadella, salame, and bresaola are arranged on platters, the cheese plate is full and the fresh bread is cut, one of Stefan’s summer salads is tossed in his delicious vinaigrette, and music fills the house and yard. It’s summertime at the Bouvarez house, and our first group of guests arrived this morning. We had our test run for the summer season last weekend when our very good friend/soul sista, Natasha, came for a quick visit. But this week, our Caribbean cousins took the overnight train from Austria, childhood friends ventured onto the continent from London, and our unofficial godchild and his momma made their way from Brooklyn USA via Amsterdam. And once again, every room is filled with people and things, and one long, satisfying meal, enlivened by the kind of conversation you can only have with people you know well, seems to stretch into the planning and making of the next meal.
Along with their belongings, these friends and family bring their tales of far away lands and people, their first person accounts of what’s happening in the old neighborhood, stories about the dramas and comedies unfolding in different corners of the world, descriptions of travel and discovery, and news about the ideas and events captivating those around them. I suppose therein lies an unspoken transaction… countryside for conversation, fresh air and foods for connection, nature’s beauty for news from outside the boot. Frankly, I think we might be getting the better deal, but don’t tell them.