Q of the Week : How often do you have dinner with friends?

The kids distracted by a movie during dessert …

At the beginning of our trip, the boys and I were invited over to an old friend’s house for dinner.  By old I mean we’ve all known each other since we were kids, and the stories are simply endless.  Between us we have 5 kids, and they all get along well so the adults actually had time to talk without interruption!  Reflecting on the trip, I realized that it’s been rather a long time since we’ve had people over, other than for a party.  I grew up with hardly a week going by that we didn’t have someone for dinner a least once, and when I struck out on my own I continued that trend for years.  Somewhere along the way the practice has faded to a rare event, and I’m not too thrilled with that thought. 

In one way we do share our table fairly often, as we rent out our frontroom and have recently started doing it for shorter periods of time so we can have a greater variety of guests (and less entrenched ones to be honest).  It’s been highly enjoyable so far, and helped remind me of what I was missing.  We’ve had a few invites ourselves too, and it always comes as a delightful surprise to share someone else’s table or BBQ.  While I enjoy eating out with friends, and we often do when family comes into town, it really is a different thing to me.  There’s something about standing in a kitchen together, and relaxing around a table afterwards while the kids run free that leaves a more luxurious taste in my mouth than the richest food at the fanciest restaurant.  Maybe it’s just me, but I love it. 

So I’m truly curious … Where and how do friends and food mix for you?  Do you have people over for ‘just’ dinner often, or go to friend’s houses for a meal when it’s not a party?   Is it always at a restaurant?  I’d love to know what your normal is, and if it’s anything like what you grew up with.