#Memoir Bytes: Patterns – Cooking, Entertaining and Getting Social

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Memoir Bytes

Vision perception - Memoirs


Have you ever tried to trace one of your habits back to its origins to attempt to piece together how it evolved? Many of our preferences and habits stem from situations or events that made us feel comfortable and cozy, stemming from our childhoods. Whether it’s a practice we enjoyed or craved, it tends to stay with us and becomes what develops into part of the patterns we form in our lives.


“The hostess with the mostess” is an old cliche I remember hearing when I was a kid by my mother when she’d talk about a party she threw or about one of the many she attended. I craved having company over when I was a child because we seldom did. Our family was far from ‘The Cleavers’, when the mom stayed home all day, wore pretty dresses with an apron tied around her waist, had dinner waiting on the table when Mr, Cleaver returned from work. No, my mother wasn’t a stay at home mom in the real sense of the term – not that she worked, rather she had an active social life that didn’t include her children.

Maybe it was because I’d taken on the motherly role at a young age that I eventually grew into that ‘hostess with the mostess’ role. The dinners I cooked for my siblings in my mother’s absence afforded me to learn how to become a decent cook. Once I moved away from home to my own little sanctuary, it became a social hangout for my friends to gather and hang out at – often a place where friends made their own home away from home because while I was on my own many of them were still living at home and considered my little ‘pad’ a place of refuge from their own parental constraints. I always enjoyed cooking and loved having visitors.

Within a few short weeks of living on my own, Sunday evenings became company is coming for dinner. Anyone who was over at my place knew there would be something tasty prepared by me. Sometimes friends would call first, but often I’d just hear that old apartment buzzer with a surprise drop by visit from a friend. I never minded at all as my constant wish for visitors as a child was coming to fruition in my own home.

As the years went by, there were numerous dinner parties, birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas parties I held at my place. I had friends from all walks of life and my world had expanded exponentially after I moved away from home. My dinner party gatherings continued after I got married as our new coupledom circle of friends was still growing. We had several  different groups of friends we’d get together with and take turns hosting dinner get togethers with on a monthly basis, and the Christmas parties we threw for years where friends would bring some of their friends and our gatherings were always fun and interesting.

As the years pass now, we don’t go out as often as we used to for dinner or dancing. And since we’ve downsized from our lovely homes into a condo we no longer throw lavish parties. But some of our simple pleasures are still getting together with our good friends and taking turns having each other over to our respective homes for a dinner gathering. Some things just remain.

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  1. Nostalgic post, Debby. I loved impromptu dinner gatherings when friends would just pop in, sometimes with bags of groceries to whip something up in my kitchen. I suppose your hang-out pad and enjoyment of cooking is one silver-lining that emerged out of your not-so-Cleaver home life. My husband is something of a recluse, so we don’t “dinner party” any more, but what memories. 😀

    1. I guess I made my own ‘Cleaver’ life, lol. I thrive around people so I do miss more social activity. One day! 🙂 xx

      1. Writing is so solitary and time-consuming. I had lunch with my lady friends today. I miss that too!

        1. I miss that too – too, lol. 🙂

  2. Very interesting. If I went back through WFW, I’d probably find the roots of some of today’s habits. I’ve certainly ditched some bad ones and started some good ones over the years. Time and circumstances has a way of demanding that they do. 🙂 We never were into a big social scene of dinners–at our house or others. Now that we have the time, we don’t have enough people here. LOL. But feel free to drop by sunny New Mexico after DJT is out of office and we’ll whip something up. 🙂

    1. Lol, thanks for sharing John. And you can count on us getting together – something I’m looking forward too, once he’s gone and if my life savings aren’t drained from the volatile markets! 🙂

  3. You are a very sociable person, Debby. I work full time so when I am not at work, I prefer to be just with my own family. I am not very sociable as I seem to prefer virtual friendships to real people [smile]. I think I have more in common with bloggers that real people.

    1. You are not alone in your social choices Robbie. Many writers find common bonds with fellow bloggers just as I do. But I admit that I’d love to turn many of those virtual friendships into real live ones if I had opportunity to. 🙂

  4. You turned a sad memory of a party-less childhood home into a welcoming space for friends in you own home. The hostess with the most-ess, a saying that originated with the American socialite Perle Mesta, certainly has described you, the social butterfly. Even though you have to curb your activities now, you must have photos of your festivities – and warm memories. too.

    1. Thanks Marian. Oh yes, I do have a mountain of photos. One day I should bring some of those good old day photos to digital life! 🙂

  5. You did what I always thought I should–elegant entertaining. I never managed that though for a while I tried. Then I just gave up. I never knew the right things to do, set-up, invite, prepare, nothing. Now, we go out to eat!

    1. It’s not for everyone Jacqui. And I do enjoy going out to eat too, getting out of the kitchen. 🙂

  6. I enjoyed reading about your upbringing Debby and how it influenced you today. I am glad you created a life you desired.

    1. HI Lisa. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your lovely comment. 🙂 Hope you are well. I haven’t seen any new posts from you in awhile. 🙂

  7. Lovely post, Debby! I enjoy having family and friends over my house for dinner or to celebrate something. Sometimes I make up reasons to invite people to my house, like “Game of Thrones” Season Premiere Party, “Oscar” Night, “Star Wars” Marathon Pajama Party and I could go on and on. Hmm. I think I have to trace that custom back to its origins. 😉

    1. That sounds like fun Vashti. I used to do those themed parties too in my younger years LOL. I’m sure you and me would have a lot of fun together! 🙂 xx

      1. I think so too. 😉 xx

  8. Loved reading this Debby.. And you got me thinking to what my habits may be 🙂 I think my habit would be cleaning shoes.. LOL.. As the eldest of five siblings it was my job on a Sunday night after bathing my siblings and then jumping in the same bath water the last.. My next job was a line of shoes paired up waiting for cleaning..
    My Dad who had been a soldier in his younger days, a Grenadier Guard, ( the ones with the big bearskin head gear ) would often demonstrate how he had cleaned his boots with the back of a warm spoon to get the shine on his boots.. So I had to shine our shoes
    So when my children grew up, I would often polish on a Sunday night my own children’s shoes …
    And you can imagine how when I left home and got married, how jumping in clean bath water all to ones self.. Was a luxury to be savoured 🙂
    And like you, we learn at an early age how to cook.. 🙂
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend to come Debby, I also hope your dear Hubby is improving well, Sending Lots of Hugs and much love in your direction..
    Blessings my friend ..
    Sue xx <3

    1. Wow, wow Sue! Come on, I’m awaiting your book dear sister! Just that snippet you wrote here was a story starter. I’m fascinated at how a spoon could actually shine shoes, and that you continued doing this with your own children’s shoes.
      A Grenadier Guard – the hats, were those similar to the Beefeater’s?
      Wow, you do have some fascinating stories, although not necessarily happy ones my friend. And look at the beautiful soul you turned out to be despite your past. Hugs received and sending back to you with love too.
      Hubby is on a slow mend, one day at a time – the only way I can function, so thanks for asking. Love xoxo <3

      1. Haha. no not beef eaters.. But the ones who stand guard outside Buckingham Palace…
        He would heat the spoon and rub it over the boot when it had polish on.. I found a more modern day approach with heat gun https://youtu.be/pQiLnw5GG7Y At this Youtube video… LOL and Oh yes, lots of stories.. 😀 I have started to write them down.. But then deleted a lot of them thinking no one really would be interested.. And yes many not so up beat.. Lots churning around my mind as how to present my poems .. Many thanks for the thumbs up 🙂 xxx

        1. Lol, ok, I called it the wrong name, but I know those guards who stand in front of Buckhouse with the big black bear hats. I thought they were called Beefeaters lol.
          Thanks for the video I’m checking it out. 🙂 And never under-estimate what fascinates people! <3 xxx

          1. I will ‘Bare’ that in mind my friend.. 🙂 LOL… BIG BIG HUGS xxx

          2. LOLLLLLLLLL 🙂 xxxxxxx

  9. I used to love socializing; my favorite thing was meeting with friends on Sundays for lunch. Going out for breakfast was also a big deal. My house was nothing like the Cleaver’s or any of perfect examples of what we ‘should’ be as portrayed by the television of the 60’s and 70’s. Did anyone have a Mom as groovy as Mrs. Partridge?

    1. Lol Rob, nope, I didn’t know any Mrs. Partridge or Mrs. Brady LOL. Thanks for stopping by. I’m now following your blog. Glad to come across when I came there to read Mary’s interview. 🙂 Love what you write about.

      1. Thanks! I appreciate your visits and comments.

        1. I look forward to reading more from you. 🙂

          1. Welcome Rob. 🙂

  10. We regularly had visitors over when we lived abroad as single crew members from visiting naval ships would be invited so spend Sunday lunch with resident families. Cocktail parties when I was a toddler meant that it was not wise to leave glasses of booze on the floor where I might come across them.! Love get togethers and miss being able to eat outside in Madrid. we still have friends over and would miss that very much. Lovely post Debby….♥

    1. Thanks for chiming in Sal. Of course I chuckled at your hanging around cocktails, even as a toddler LOL.
      We can’t flourish without our friends! <3 <3

  11. I just love this story, Debby!!

    1. Thanks Jennie. 🙂

      1. You’re welcome! 🙂

  12. Debby, I can sense the warmth and homeliness of your dinner parties, full of friendship and conversation. The trend today seems to be eating out which is a shame as there is something very special about a meal prepared at home and eating, sharing in such a positive atmosphere! A lovely post, Debby! 😀❤️

    1. Thanks Annika. And let’s not forget how much it costs to go out to eat. 🙂 <3

  13. I do wish your mother’s social life had included her kids more – that line you wrote made me sad… But I know you’ve taken care to heal through your writing and that makes me happier.. I personally find planning events to be a mix of exciting and exhausting! I enjoy socializing and the fun of planning the event but it also takes energy and there sometimes is drama between the guests ;S Great writing, Debby

    1. Thanks so much Christy for your kind words. And believe me, when it comes to even planning, it can totally be exhausting, but like writing – if we have the passion we step past the gruel. 🙂 xx

  14. Hi Debbie – I’ve always loved entertaining too .. but not being married I tend to take dishes to friends houses … even that has stopped now – though the craving is still there. One day I’ll get to cook again … but I do love entertaining. Sounds like you made your home a place of love and welcome …. cheers Hilary

    1. Aw thanks for sharing Hilary. I’d have you over any day if you lived closer! 🙂 Cheers!

  15. I have to agree that social times, especially with like-minded souls (and great food and drinks, of course), are the best times! We used to throw parties on our sailboat while cruising and joined happy hours and potlucks on shore. Whatever life we lived in the past, included some kind of a community. Now, while house and pet sitting throughout the country, this is the biggest draw-back, Who would have guessed? Our friends are virtual and far away, and we don’t seem to make new ones often anymore as we are not staying long enough in one area. I’m sure it is one reason of not laughing a lot these day also. 🙂

    1. Well I’m so with you on that Liesbet!. Sometimes I think if it weren’t for my virtual friends I’d go mad LOL

  16. Ah, I’ve finally found something where we are different! I don’t enjoy cooking or giving dinner parties. I prefer it if somebody else cooks, although we always arrive loaded with fare.

    1. Lol, well you’d be welcome with your fare. And I will admit, as I get older I’m finding myself getting lazier in the kitchen, lol. 🙂

      1. My mother hated cooking, and passed her dislike of it down to me. It’s boring!

        1. You are so funny! My mother was never around to cook so I took the reigns and kept cooking. 🙂

          1. My mum used to shout “Get out of the kitchen! There’s not room for two of us in here!” I was only too happy to oblige…

  17. Getting together with friends and family you love around a table laden with good food is a real joy, Debby. It makes an occasion of any meal. It’s good that some things don’t change.

    1. Amen to that Norah. 🙂

  18. How things do change, Debby. I can remember when we used throw parties all the time. We had no concerns about the mess and having to clear up. Now, we look at each other and ask ‘is it worth all the work?’ 😀We do, however, have visitors every so often, but we’ve also found ourselves getting into a daily routine (as we’ve grown older) that if upset, can really throw the cat amongst the pigeons (in a funny way).

    1. Lol Hugh, isn’t it funny how time changes our perspective? 🙂 xx

      1. It is. Twenty years ago, I’d be really upset if I was not going out on a Friday and Saturday night. Now, I get upset if we have to go out on a Friday or Saturday night. 😂xx

        1. LOL, welcome to my world my friend. 🙂 xxx

  19. I want to ring the doorbell of your apartment and see what’s cooking. I’ll bring a dish to pass. My social life is quiet now, more because of deafness than anything else–but I also find comfort in more introversion than I did as a young woman. Vic was out there with teaching, but actually an introvert. He was fine with seeing various friends for dinner once a week but sticking close to home most nights. This also happens because I live in the country, half an hours drive from most of my friends. I’ll see a friend for afternoon tea and a long talk tomorrow. My son returns from CA tonight, so I’ll see him for dinner this weekend. When I look at my calendar, I realize how I still make time for socializing with those I love. I’m glad you do, too.

    1. I hear you Elaine, I think as we get older our passions change and we get in a comfortable rhythm with daily life patterns. I still love to socialize but it’s been cut way down these past 2 years with hubbie’s health and life in general. But I still have my cousin drop by often on a Sunday and hang around for dinner, lol. 🙂
      Glad your son is returning and that he moved closer to you. It’s good for you to have family around. 🙂

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