MEATBALLS: More Than Just a Dinner Party

The concept is simple, on the last Saturday of every month, we whip up a batch of spaghetti and meatballs using my family’s secret recipe and all of our friends are welcome to join. The only catch is that each person has to bring a contribution (a salad, red wine, delicious apps) so that we can all get the most out of the experience.

And so was born Saturday Night Meatballs.

Last week we had our inaugural party and were joined by 12 of our friends for a night of great food, good laughs and wonderful company. MEATBALLS was a huge success!

On the surface, MEATBALLS can fuel vanity, providing the perfect backdrop for your Snapchats and creating Instagram-worthy photo ops to show people on the internet how cool you and your friends are. I get it and I’m guilty, too. If you don’t post a picture, were you really there? Did it really happen?

But it wasn’t the Insta-worthy food that stole the show; it wasn’t the wine or the music either. It wasn’t the hashtags or captions or double-taps that really made it a special night.

It was special because it was a lot more than that, and a lot more than my guests probably knew.

You see, I was raised by what I often refer to as a three-legged stool. My parents (Muz and Stiv) and my grandmother provided much of the foundation upon which I built my life. I’d get into the specifics, but this post is about MEATBALLS so I’ll save the sob story for another time. The important part is that I tell you that my family’s secret recipe was coined by my grandmother, passed down to her son, which he in turn passed on to me.

Growing up, spaghetti and meatballs was a staple meal for birthdays and anniversaries and, my personal favourite, parties for no reason at all. It literally was “Hey, I’m making meatballs, come over” and so people came over.

Deciding to throw MEATBALLS in my own house, with my own partner, with my own friends was like deciding to go on a pilgrimage through the desert. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But it was like a rite of passage, a coming out of sorts, a time of self reflection. It was me saying “Here I am world, I may have an enormous mortgage, and I might not have fancy things, but I’m here and I’m trying and trying to do it well” and just like that I felt like I was emulating even just a fraction of everything I ever looked up to in life.

So, it wasn’t a coincidence that I called my Dad on his deceased mother’s birthday to ask for a recipe for a meal that I could make with my eyes closed. I’ve done it a million times. And it wasn’t a coincidence that I held my first MEATBALLS exactly in between my grandmother’s birthday and the anniversary of her death. It’s been an interesting time for me as I transition to a very new part of my life and I sometimes catch myself measuring the time that passes by the number of milestones my grandmother has missed. Like I said, this was a monumental occasion, even if I was the only one who knew.

MEATBALLS was an attempt to bring people together from all of the parts of my life, to catch up and laugh, and then laugh harder. So I said “Hey, I’m making meatballs, come over” and they came over. And we ate and drank and popped champagne bottles (yes that really happened). We took pictures, and sent Snapchats and listened to ridiculous dinner music and talked about where I got the mushrooms for my sauce (the market, if you were wondering). And for a brief and likely unnoticeable moment, I sat back and watched my friends carrying on and enjoying a meal that was the centerpiece for so many of my childhood memories; and I knew then, that I did it, and did it well.