In the Kitchen with Friends

The first friendship I formed in college was a result of bonding over pink bedding from Pottery Barn Kids. That didn’t last too long though. One of our other roommates, Emma was pretty annoyed that I decorated my corner of the room with all things pink. It bothered me that she would sing while we studied. I don’t think either of us were convinced that we’d end up being friends.

But Emma and I found common ground in the kitchen. Our very very small (two people in there was a crunch) dorm room kitchen. In that kitchen where we realized we enjoyed each others company and our bold personalities could actually work together. Our friendship really began by making messes in the kitchen. We invented wafflefluff. We attempted to flambé bananas with Malibu Rum. We became friends over the stove. This was the first time I really realized that friends and food go together.

I’ve said often that the one thing they don’t teach you when you graduate college is that after, you have to learn how to make friends all over again. Sure you’re always going to have girlfriends from high school and college, but they don’t always live close. And when you’re out of school, you’re out of situations where you naturally make friends…so you have to work at it. I went on a lot of girl dates my first year or two out of college. I still do now. And it seems weird, but if you meet a girl that you think you might get along with you have to put yourself out there and just be like, “hi I’m Nikki, want to be friends?” It’s so strange. It’s like playing in the sandbox all over again. But that little bit of courage to pick up friends pays off – that’s how I met so many of my good friends today.

making Julia Child's chocolate souflee with friends

Some of my favorite moments of last year involved not only eating with good friends, but cooking with them too. We made pasta, funnel cake, cookies, chili, lovely cheese plates, sangria, pizza, fig chutney, guacamole, a patriotic fruit tart, and Julia Child’s chocolate soufflé.

The soufflé night was one of my favorites. Over two years ago I met Emily and Rachel at a bar. I don’t remember much about that evening except that it was sweltering hot, and as we tried to chat in front of a fan I thought they were sweet and fun. I held out my hand and introduced myself. Many brunches, books, boy stories, cheese, real marathons, figurative marathons, and glasses of wine later and we have a real girl-grown friendship. How cool is that?

Emily left yesterday and is off on what will absolutely be a life-changing adventure. But before she left we all made chocolate soufflé together. One girl stirs the melting chocolate, another beats the egg whites, another butters the ramekins. It’s not an easy recipe, but it’s much easier when you’re not alone. While we wait and the room fills with sweet chocolate smells, we go back to the wine, the boy stories, the new adventures. Oh, and then we eat. It’s simple, it’s chocolate, it’s friendship.

baking chocolate soufflé with friends

Not sure I can say completely why the kitchen is better with friends in it. Mostly it’s a big bowl of sappy feelings. But also, it’s creating something and sharing it together. It’s not materialistic or judgmental. It’s turning a brick of chocolate into a rich fluffy cloud. It’s celebrating how far we’ve come from that first bar or dorm room and how far we’ll go next.

I can only hope 2013 holds more moments in the kitchen with friends like this. We may even talk about pink monogrammed bedding (because seriously, it’s not like I’ve moved on from that!), but it will be over piled-high dishes, flour spills, “more wine?”s, and food that tastes like memories.

“Remember, no one’s more important than people. In other words, friendship is the most important thing–not career or housework, or one’s fatigue–and it needs to be tended and nurtured.”

-Julia Child, My Life in France

16 thoughts on “In the Kitchen with Friends

  1. Sylvie

    I just got all teary-eyed at my desk thinking about a friend who might be moving away soon.

    Good girlfriends are so important. There is this great feeling after a good girls night that just can’t be explained. My friends and I have a “Women and Wine” night occasionally and it is just a lovely time filled with food, wine, and lovely discussions.

    Making the extra effort to plan and get together is totally worth it.

  2. Rachel

    As Italians and Jews, I think we both know how important food is to bring people together :)

    Looking forward to 2013 and much more cooking and wine together! xx

  3. Sarah

    Love this — the kitchen really is a place of comfort and gathering. And chocolate souffles are my absolute favorite! Can’t wait to hang out again.

  4. Susan

    Nikki this is really just what I need to start off my year! I think I need to put myself out there more in general and as awkward as it can be, I know from your sweet story how important it really is to be more outgoing. Thanks for this! (and that souffle looks incredible. Food and friends? Can’t go wrong!)

  5. megan

    i’m all about this post. i moved to dc a little over a year ago from texas all by myself and it’s always a challenge to make new friendships that really mean something beyond a surface level. cheers to you and to 2013!

  6. Lauren

    Love this! It’s so true. It’s so much harder to make friends as we get older. And sometimes we get so busy it’s hard to catch up with our old friends. Julia Childs got it right :)

  7. Erin

    I absolutely agree that it’s hard to meet people post-college — for the past few years, many of my close college friends were still in town so they hung out a lot, but now they’re leaving and I’m still here. Let’s do coffee!

  8. Evi

    Great post Nikki! It is hard to make friends as you get older, but it’s even better celebrating those great moments!

  9. Pingback: Cooking with Friends: Fig Fest | Cupcakes for Breakfast

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