*In these past few years, I've come to enjoy dining as a formal ceremony. I'd argue that that's one thing the east coast does better than the west, though America, generally speaking, is rather pitiful in the ceremonial aspects of dining when compared to say, the British (posh afternoon tea; extravagant breakfasts), the Italians (five hour long pranzos), the French, or even the Chinese (huge family dinners, and the mantra is always "go big or go home"). My idea of dining as a formal ceremony is not necessarily fancy or posh but does include multiple courses – or at least multiple servings – with drinks and sweets interspersed, finished with coffee and tea, and most importantly furnished with conversation that feels substantial in the moment but is actually the kind of smorgasbord of illogical and ridiculous topics that one might spew when inebriated. Little to no small talk involved.
*Easter Sunday: my roommate invited me to a family friend's house in Wayland, Massachusetts - about a thirty minute drive out of Harvard Square. It was grey and chilly, but it was nice to get out - out into the woods in fact - and spend a day in someone's home, a feeling I miss when I spend 75% of my time in a dorm with ugly, institutional furniture.
*Upon arrival, we played with the dogs and ate crudites with hummus. There were also Pillsbury pinwheels with ham and cheese. I forgot how delicious Pillsbury crescent rolls are. I'm a picky bread eater, but I certainly do not discriminate against foods-in-cans if they taste good. Pillsbury crescent rolls are one of the few foods that fall into that delicious-food-in-cans categories. After more guests arrived (all new faces to me), we had an Easter Egg hunt for everyone under the age of 28. I was not very ambitious in my hunting and ended up with 2 peanut butter Reese's eggs and four plastic eggs. More talking and loafing around, then brunch was served in the middle of the afternoon. Caesar salad, grits with cheese, ham of course, buttery bread rolls, and fruit salad. We picked at the jelly beans on the table in between, which I ate out of nostalgia more than anything else. Sometimes foods taste better that way. I remember being fifteen and lying in the sun on the shores of Lake Tahoe with a huge ten-pound bag of jelly beans that we had picked up at the Jelly Belly Factory on the way to the lake. We had scored a deal on that bag because they were the "belly flops" - the jelly beans with defects that had been rejected as a result. We picked our way through the bag and at the end only white, flavorless ones were left. Even those aren't as bad as the buttered popcorn and bubblegum flavors though.
*My roommate and I swapped jelly beans. Our flavor preferences don't overlap at all, so sharing works out perfectly. After jelly beans, we were served angel food cakes in the shape of rabbits and tea and coffee in porcelain china, which was delightful because the taste of tea can only be enhanced by the aesthetics of the vessel (I firmly believe this is how tea must be taken with a serious investment in ceremony). Late into the afternoon, we quizzed each other with riddles and logic plays. We overlooked the insignificance of our conversation because the insignificance was so enjoyable, and we lingered around the table picking at jelly beans and chocolates until we knew it was close to dinner time and we would have to return to our respective homes so we could start eating all over again.