one of the first dinner parties i ever hosted was with mara, in the june of 1996. we had graduated from college only days before, and were still high on the fumes of celebration, accomplishment, and comraderie (just around the corner were reality, confusion and, well, ohio, but that's another story). we hosted a small dinner at her parents' comfortable and lovely house in massachusetts and carefully planned a menu of north african carrot soup and lamb salad with cornichons. knowing mara, she also made an elaborate and delicious dessert but i cannot remember it now. we shopped at a local market, picking only the finest ingredients and purchasing a container of the at-the-time-unknown-to-me creme fraiche. it felt very adult. and yet i imagine we used our parents' credit cards.
the dinner party was a success--we set a formal table, and we topped off the meal with a moonlit walk, all 8 or so of us getting lost a few miles away and accepting a hilariously overpacked ride home from a neighbor. the next day, for lunch, we ate leftover lamb salad wrapped in flour tortillas and i discovered the beauty of a "leftovers sandwich."
1) the flavors have had time to marinate and deepen.
2) almost anything, put on a sandwich, is a good idea.
3) with that sandwich come the memories of the first eating, so that the day after our successful and exhilarating party, we got to experience the evening all over again.
the traditional leftovers sandwich, of course, is the day-after-thanksgiving sandwich. my favorite was last year's: a crusty ciabatta roll, a whole-grain mustard, turkey slices, cranberry sauce, and mashed sweet potatoes, eaten perched on a high stool near a roaring fire. if you haven't already done so, make yourself one, before your leftovers go bad--or run out.