The food: Honey lime fruit salad
I went to a dinner party last weekend at the home of my friend Antanas Sileika, writer, artistic director and bon vivant. When I asked him what I could bring, he said fruit salad. Not to be confused with a fruit platter. And not with apples or oranges, please. (Hmpf. As if.)
A passel of Canadian novelists would be coming – all teaching colleagues from the Humber School for Writers, + dates/spouses, 12 in total. I knew what fresh fruits I would use – berries and pineapple, mainly, with some honeydew melon to add colour – but the more I thought about the term “fruit salad” the more I realized I didn’t really know what it was. Worried that a mysterious (to me) substance like sugar syrup might be required, I looked up some fruit salad recipes and came across a Martha Stewart one that called for a dressing of lime juice, honey and fresh mint. That combo sounded sophisticated and tasty, so that’s what I used.
Antanas and his wife Snaige made a splendid dinner that began with vegetable antipasti, including a fennel salad with pine nuts
and asparagus vinaigrette
proceeded to a lamb sausage cassoulet
and duck in an orange sauce
and ended with crème caramel and chocolate cake, plus my fruit salad. All served with appropriate wines, of course.
At my end of the table, topics of conversation included health and illness, successes and failures, dreams and nightmares, parents and children, teachers and students. Oh yes, and food blogs.
Did the convivial company and lovely food purge us of bitterness and sweeten our dispositions? Not permanently – we’re talking about a bunch of published writers here, come on. But I had a good taste in my mouth all the way home.