Garnish Liberally with Broken Plate

Last night, my friend Mandie came over for dinner. She is a Bible college student who is several years younger than me. She asked me to get together with her once a month or so for some informal mentoring. Last night was our second “meeting” and her first time over to our apartment.

Trying to remember all these great lessons in hospitality I’ve been learning, I planned a simple meal: lasagna and salad, and Mandie said she would bring some garlic bread. I made the lasagna Monday night (my mom’s recipe – uses cottage cheese instead of ricotta – I love it!) so all I would have to do on Tuesday was just pop it in the oven.

I had been up till midnight or later on both Sunday and Monday nights painting the dining room, so when I got home from work Tuesday night, I had to clean up the dining room and living room and hang everything back on the walls. When Mandie arrived, I wasn’t finished, but I tried to remember that hospitality is more about a giving attitude than a perfect house. I welcomed her, we put the bread in the oven, and while Matthew made her a fabulous caffeinated beverage, I finished straighteneing up and set the table. (I didn’t have time to make a salad, but that’s okay – no one knows that but me! And, now, the Internet.)

We sat down to eat, and I was pretty proud of myself for how well things were going. About halfway through the meal, I stood up to serve myself another piece of lasagna. As I started to scoop it out of the pan, my plate just slipped through my fingers–so–and went down–down–down and broke, on the edge of the baking dish, into a thousand pieces, most of which ended up all over the lasagna.

I just stood there. Mandie and Matthew stared at me.

Eventually I recovered my faculties and started to clean up the mess. We realized that most of the pieces had fallen on the half of the pan that was already empty, so it wasn’t too much of a loss. We carefully picked up the pieces and moved on with the meal.

After dinner, Mandie helped me clear the table and then we sat in the living room and had a very nice time talking. We went through some scripture passages about Godly womanhood. She had to ask for a blanket at one point – oops, another boo-boo! I forgot how cold our house seems to someone who is not used to viewing a 63-degree home as “luxuriously warm” (compared to 54 at night).

Before she left, she commented, “You really do have a great gift of hospitality!” So I guess that means it turned out well after all. (Hey, at least we didn’t almost kill her, like we did with our first-ever dinner guest.)

And then I fell asleep, leaving almost every light on and about 10 candles burning. Matthew blew them out when he got home from work at 4 a.m.

P.S. I just ate my leftover lasagna for lunch. And bit down on a piece of broken plate.

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  • whomhavei

    I hope you’re better prepared this weekend because you know I’m tough and like eating broken glass and nails.

  • mmmattress

    Funny, Zach, we’re serving you leftover lasagna your first night here. Don’t know what the rest of us are eating…

  • gwyneth

    oh, you guys are funny…the ufo is ACTUALLY a lamppost…but i see the ufo-ness now…

    and i didn’t properly appreciate the lighting of the glacier valley until you said something, and then i looked at it again and thought…hmmm, that really IS a pretty scene.  so, thanks.  mostly you should thank God for letting me go there, though…and for not making nz a homely land.  :-D

  • goodnightjones

    haha, it’s totally true! i wonder if there’s a way to look that up?

  • fentzypoo

    ha ha ha ha…what a dreadfully wonderful story…I pictured the whole thing…sorry about your plate.

  • stepho_bugg

    thank you. i’m not for sure if i’m pregant or not because i took 3 test and two came up positive. when i went to open arms to get another test done they came up negative. then i went to the health department and i asked them about abd they said i might have a good chance of being pregant. they think thats its my hormones raging and giving a false reading. i will find out at the end of the month if i really am for sure.

    where are you from again?

  • stepho_bugg

    i plan on raising the baby with the father of the baby in Illions. i would never give the baby up for adoption because if you can have sex then you can surely raise a child as long as you have a goog job and your family will help support you in whatever you do. i think i am but i’m not for sure so on jan. 18(my birthday) comes i’m going to use some of my money and take another test  because i really want to know right now. i cant stand just not knowing.

  • stepho_bugg

    well i’m sorry to hear that. my aunt and uncle adopted a child and i love him to dealth. i think its good for people to adopted because i think that everyone should have at least one child. you never know maybe someday you will get pregant and have a child of your own. well hope everything goes well weather you adopte a child or have your own.

  • hannahbarton

    Becky, how sad? Remember the time you were demonstrating the strength of your stemware? :-)

    You’re a great hostess. I’m sure Mandy couldn’t help but have a wonderful time.

    And do you know who else is engaged as of the holidays? Dave Shaughnessy, Adam Willard, and Jess Hutchings (you probably already knew about that one)!

  • hannahbarton

    I don’t know why I put a question mark. How sad? How mad? What do you think!

  • fentzypoo

    he he…no…never heard of the 10th kingdom…sounds like something i would like though!

  • daniellehanley

    My first ever dinner party – all my relatives over – I made a lasagna where you don’t cook the noodles beforehand. Only I forgot to put the water in. It was very crunchy lasagna.

    Your first dinner guest story brought tears (of laughter) to my eyes.

  • karlitacat

    OMG, that story was just too funny.  I’m sure it was rather discouraging at the moment, but we can all laugh about it now, right?  Hehe.  And these little accidents in no way diminish a good spirit of hospitality!  They just add… a little flair!  And hey, you broke a good plate for your guest!   Just glad you didn’t hurt yourself on the glass – eek!  Uh… are you sure you still want us to come over??  I made a really yummy lasagna with chicken, capers, and lemon zest, and instead of read sauce you use alfredo – sooo goood!  I think it was called Lemon Chicken Lasagna. 

  • karlitacat

    Sheesh, sometimes I really can’t spell.  R-E-D

  • gwyneth

    thanks for appreciating the order.  i was very intentional about it…to show, “oh look!  cows.  oh, they’re close.  now they’re in the road.  OH…they’re ALL AROUND.  awesome.”

  • sheldoggy

    hey, what doesn’t kill me only makes me a stronger person…or something;-)

  • ash_bb

    hey so your married. that is really cool! so is it going good.

  • Monyikka

    hi.  i don’t know you ,but i know gwyn and thus read your posts sometimes.  i’m now going to subscribe because well, you’re quite funny. :-)

    thank you,


  • Monyikka

    re: my cow comment.  i shocked myself too.  :-)

  • gwyneth

    and everyone who reads the internet…

  • fentzypoo

    Jonathan Brandis was my second crush actually…my walls were plastered with his pictures (remember Bop and Big Bopper?)….I thought I was going to marry him too!!! I actually cried when I read the article that said he had hung himself….all the more reason to go to Hollywood….I am glad we have this secret in common! he just wasn’t my first….thats why i didn’t post about him.:)

  • karlitacat

    I pretty much never go by the exact recipe – I just use whatever I have, add spices here and there, whatever.  But here’s the recipe:

    Lemon Chicken Lasagna
    1 16oz jar roasted garlic alfredo sauce
    1 tbsp drained capers
    6 no-boil lasagna noodles (I used another kind of macaroni, and cooked it)
    1/2 a 15oz container ricotta cheese
    6 oz fontina or mozarella, shredded – 1 1/2 c (I think I used cheddar)
    1 1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
    1/4 c finely shredded parmesan cheese
    1 9oz package refrigerated or frozen cooked chicken breast strips (I just cut up chicken breast and cooked it)

    1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly coat a 2qt square baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.  In a saucepan combine alfredo sauce and capers.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Spoon 1/3 c of sauce mixture into prepared dish.  Top with 2 lasagna noodles.  In a bowl stir together ricotta, 1 c fontina cheese, and 1 tsp of the lemon peel.  Spoon half the cheese mixture over noodles.  Sprinkle with 2 tbsp parmesan.  Top with half the chicken.  Spoon half the remaning sauce over chicken layer.
    2.  Top with 2 more noodles, remaining ricotta mixture, and remaining chicken.  Add 2 more noodles, remaining sauce, and sprinkle with remaining fontina and parmesan. 
    3.  Cover with foil.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Let stand, covered, on wire rack for 20 minutes before serving (I’m sure we got impatient and ate sooner).  Sprinkle with remaining lemon peel.  Makes 6 servings.

  • inanera

    Awww, THANK YOU so much!!!

    Actually, I’m working on a book at the moment, but it’s more just for myself.  Sell ads on my blog?  How do you do that?

  • gwyneth

    little wee leta…i’m glad she’s well now, too. i am trying to decide what/if to post today.

  • gwyneth

    ahhhhhhhh! have you come over to the awesome pre-writing dark side!!!???!!! (ok, i know it’s not pierce pettis, but i don’t have the same deal w/ multiple punctuation marks)

  • hannahbarton

    Did you ask (a while back) what quote Gandalf makes in the books that Wormtongue gives in the movie? I think people may be confusing us!! YES!

    BTW, I’m reading The Return of the Shadow. I’ve decided to completely en-nerd myself and read everything about Middle Earth. Sick Freak!

  • ash_bb

    hey thank you for your advise it was very help full

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