For thousands of years, people have gathered around the serving of a meal. Food merely sustains us. But meals bring people together. Meals can bring together the best of friends…and the most random of people.
Some food can be elegant and exquisite. Other times, it can just be hot dogs and fries. Regardless of the type of food, the sharing of the meal, the breaking of bread, the conversation and community that ensues around a table…can be life changing. Friday Nights at our house has become that for us. Life changing. It has been for others as well.
For over a year and a half, our family has opened our door to anyone and everyone who wants to share a meal and share in that community. Every Friday, we have people over for dinner, but what they get is community. EVERY Friday. You can read the back story here.
This will be the first of many posts that will share what we do and why in more detail. Brandy and I run into friends frequently who ask many questions about what and why and how we pull this off.
“How can you afford it?” “What about the kids?” “Do you really just let anyone in?”
We also hear lots of excuses as to why some people do not come. Granted, not every CAN come…we get that. But when they start the conversation off by saying they think it’s really cool and they want to participate but…. There is always some reason that we’ve already addressed but they just don’t know.
So this series will be about addressing all the questions anyone has ever asked about Friday Nights. So here we go!
Beans and Rice
It’s pretty much all we serve!
On most weeks, we put beans in the crock pot Thursday night, let them soak, and then start cooking Friday afternoon. We might use the crockpot if we’ll be busy that day. Add in an onion, garlic and spices and we’ve spent nearly zero time preparing. Beans are cheap…and this is important since we pretty much finance the whole endeavor.
Brandy also typically cooks rice. Plain ol’ white rice…with a little lime and cilantro. Maybe Mexican rice if that’s what she’s got around.
We also lay out shredded cheese, flour tortillas and sour cream. Recently, we’ve also started providing corn tortillas since several people have said they’re gluten free.
So if you are gluten intolerant…you now have no more excuses!
We also put out chips and salsa…more on that for another post!
Sometimes other people will bring additional food. Desserts, candy, soda, olives, a salad. One time someone brought some enchiladas….hmmmmm. That was a good Friday Night!
Anyway, sometimes people bring something else to share…sometimes nobody does. Many people will ask if they can bring something and typically we just want them to show up themselves, bring nothing and have a good time.
It is the same basic food every week. There are two basic reasons:
As stated above, beans are cheap. We’re already a large family and with four of the six kids being teenagers, we spend more on food each month than we do on rent! Doing this every Friday…beans is pretty much all we can afford!
Serving the same base meal each week sets an expectation for everyone…particularly kids. Let’s face it, nobody wants to go to dinner somewhere each week and have no idea what is being served. And kids hate not knowing even more. So everyone always knows it is always beans and rice and cheese and tortillas. If there is something extra one night, awesome…but no one will expect it and then be disappointed if it’s not there the next week. In addition, making the same thing is just easy and we’ve perfected it. The beans here are good!
More Than Beans and Rice…
Somehow, the cooking of beans and rice has led to much more than just filling the bellies of a few friends. It has led to real community. People we call family. People who we can depend on. People we can text or call for prayer. People who we can ask advice of. People who care about our well-being and spiritual lives and family and kids and work and future.
People who we call community.
Everyone is welcome to join us. And join the community.