Today, I pulled out some packed food from my freezer, leftovers from last Sunday’s party at home. Contentedly I thought, ah, the party’s not over – for me at least. After a quick nuke in the microwave, the food looked as enticing and fresh as it did last Sunday. Then straight to my salivating mouth. I love good leftovers! Don’t you?
Sunday’s birthday celebration for Lili, Linda and Cai (current and retired work mates) was a potluck extravaganza. The long table was fully laden with a festive variety of dishes representing different ethnic backgrounds: American continental, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Filipino, and several in between (with traces of cultural influences but not distinctly identifiable). My regret was not having a picture of the attractive culinary array. We were all so eager to dive into the main activity of the gathering after a robust happy birthday song. At 1 p.m., perhaps, we all were starving and raring to partake of one another’s delicacy.
The feast in front of our eyes mesmerized us.
With 12 people in the party, it had to be buffet. The practical benefit of buffet is the ease for anyone to go back for more servings when desired. And that’s exactly what we did, allowed ourselves sufficient tasting of every dish presented on the table. Furthermore, with buffet, we safely positioned ourselves away from the food offerings, enjoying the freedom to carry on animated conversations while eating. This exactly was what transpired at Sunday’s party, updates and stories that crisscrossed the room, vibrant chatters that filled the air in a fashion that surged feelings of normalcy rare during pandemic times. The confidence that sprung from the knowledge that everyone at the gathering was fully vaccinated helped to boost the celebration to a comfortable level of carefreeness. In short, we had fun.
Good food combined with lively exchange produced a sure formula for an enjoyable party. The idea of having games right after eating was thrown out the window. Who needed entertainment when right there were stories and conversations that captured everyone’s interest the entire duration of the gathering. The company was quite engaged and engaging. Lovely people. Heartwarming interactions. Interesting buzz. No need for games. No need for other distractions. Equally fun was the exchange of leftovers to take home. My “loot” consisted of a square of flat spinach casserole coated with crunchy crumbs, 2 sushi rolls, barbecued chicken on skewers, a piece of spongy birthday cake topped with sweetened cracker crumbs, three pieces of shiny, round persimmons, and add those to my own leftovers of pork and chicken adobo (meat marinated in soy sauce and vinegar with generous thin slices of ginger), and a few kutsinta (glutinous rice cake cooked in coconut milk with brown sugar) — that’s plenty for me – like I said, the party isn’t over for me. Interestingly, the mystery about leftovers is that they seem to taste so much better, and you enjoy them so much more.
Maybe, for my guests, the party continues for them, too. The delicious leftovers bring fresh to mind – an engaging and enjoyable celebration last Sunday, a feast that we aim to duplicate in January — with more leftovers to happily share after the feast.