We hosted a dinner party, of sorts, this evening:  Dan’s French officemate, Samir, came over and brought a contraption called a “Raclette” so we could all have dinner together.  I had never heard of Raclette, but I’m a quick learner — it’s basically like fondue except that rather than cooking your food in the cheese, you melt the cheese and pour it over a variety of meats, breads and vegetables.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and now I know of yet another way to prepare and ingest cheese (just what my waistline needs).  But,  as with so many culinary experiences, the real pleasure comes from the social experience, not the eating experience.  We ate, we drank wine, we chatted.  Dan & I taught him at least one word (“melted”) to augment his already excellent English, Samir & I chastised Dan for words he doesn’t yet know in German (“später”), Liam ate Raclette with enthusiasm, while Benjamin all but abstained.  We all laughed about the period in recent American history where we ate “Freedom Fries” instead of French Fries, and Samir assured us that the French hadn’t gotten their feelings hurt about the name change, since there’s nothing French about them anyway.

It was, in short, exactly the kind of evening we’re so fortunate to have here in Vienna — learning about another culture, enjoying each other’s company, helping the world feel a little smaller.  And, as it turns out, we all like Raclette, as well as Samir’s company, so I imagine this is an experience we’ll repeat again before too long.