A Gift of Friendship & Ceci Bean Bruschetta
What is a Friend?
I have five distinct groups of very close friends in my life. The first are what I will call my teen friends although our bonds probably started to form earlier than that. The five of us don't see each other often these days. In fact the last time we were all together was four and three quarter years ago. At this very moment in time I wish more than anything we could all be together again, picnicing, dancing at 'Yesterdays', foraging for fungi, drinking parfait amour straight out of the bottle or otherwise enacting Grease in one of our bedrooms, concocting the fiction of our futures but oblivious to the reality of them. Although I feel like the prodigal daughter, because I flew the furthest I hope they would always be there for me, no questions asked. If they could be, I am sure they would be.
My second friend is Penny. She is in a class of her own. She is the only friend that spans all of the other groups and has met all of them. Our relationship has sometimes been volatile but I am glad we have survived the ups and downs. I met Penny when we worked together in London and now, luckily for me, she works in the Bay Area too. We share not only a cultural connection in a foreign land, but also a history. I love Penny although perhaps I don't always show it as well as I should.
My next, small set of friends are my American friends. Friends I made when I first arrived here in the US and who are still friends six and a half years later. Friends like Mary Beth and Vinny. Friends like my ex-roomate Dani who moved out of town and who I miss so much sometimes its easier to try and forget she exists than dwell on the fact I can't just pop round the corner to see her. She was in Napa yesterday and we drove to meet her for lunch at Bouchon. Our time together passed by so fast and poof she was gone again, it almost seemed like a dream.
My fourth set of friends I will call "our friends". These are the friends that Fred and I have in common, a mix of my friends, his friends and new friends that have become ours to share over the four and a half years we have been together. I love these people. French, Amercians, Brits and Germans. They should know who they are, why we are so grateful to them and that we love them all very much.
Last but not least I have my blogging friends. So many wonderful people out there who I have met through my blog, in the Bay Area, France, England, New York and others visiting San Francisco from all over the world. None more so than five wonderful women who have become the 21st century version of my teen girly gang. Who took me to hospital and sat by my bedside all day when I needed an operation earlier this year, or who delivered me food, or who provided a shoulder to cry on. Who are always an instant message, email or phone call away when things are looking grim, who always have a wise word to say to pick me up.
One of these good friends brought a dish to a pot luck we had last Christmas Eve that made a lasting impression on me and Fred. We took the leftovers up to Tahoe and although it's full of garlic, herbs and vinegar - hardly what you think of as breakfast food - we found ourselves gorging on it, first thing the very next day. It was so addictive I had to ask for the recipe and I have made it a couple of times since. Although the ugly food snob in me was surprised that it came from Food Network - I soon got over myself. I have made this both from dried ceci and when in a rush using canned chick peas. The dressing is full of flavour and it can be eaten as a salad or used to top bruschetta. It's not a pretty dish but it is a delicious one, and easy to make to boot. I like to leave it a while for the flavours to develop and mingle and then when I serve it I add a fresh sprinkle of extra basil chiffonade.
Link to the Recipe for Ceci Bean Bruschetta by Mario Batalii on Food Network