Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday night dinners at home

Last night I invited an ambassador of a very important country to the Philippines, and his family, over to dinner at my house. I specified Sunday night, casual, relaxed and "just us."

This ambassador and his wife had very kindly invited me to dinner sometime back, before I left on my most recent round of a never-ending Travelife

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From the very first moments of dinner with just the three of us, we'd hit it off and had a wonderful time talking about anything and everything.

Since then, it's been a real pleasure to keep in touch with them, although it's never been often enough with all our busy schedules and my never-ending Travelife.


I like having people over for dinner on weekends that I'm in Manila, and Sunday night casual dinner is especially reserved for people I really like.

If it's a group of four or more, I set up a serve-yourself buffet so I don't have to do much work, and we usually just sit around the table talking until someone has to go home.
Or if I've just invited one person to dinner, I try to think of a menu that involves cooking or preparing the meal right on the table with a grill or a portable stove top, so that even I can just relax and keep talking while getting the meal done.


And recently, I bought myself a proper paella cooker in Manila.

Not a paella pan, as I already have that. But a cooker with a stand that you use with gas, and this is where you place the paella pan on top of.

I have one in Tokyo and I cook a pretty good paella there.

But in Manila, I only used to make paella on a regular stove top. But now, I have the proper cooker and all the paraphernalia, so I plan to try it out on a dinner at home sometime.


The conversation itself was very enjoyable.

We again discussed everything under the sun -- from politics and history to the subtle but very interesting and complicated twists and turns of Philippine society -- and with a very refreshing frankness that has become the norm between the three of us since we first met.

This is what I made as a simple but healthy starter
for a lunch with friends yesterday, by the way...

It's not often that you can lay down your guard and just be completely yourself in such a world full of protocol and diplomatic nuances; but this has been the case with us so far.

So this rare friendship is one of the select few I cherish amidst the frenetic social life of Manila and perhaps an even more frenetic Travelife.  


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