At its best, a university becomes a community that supports its members. And that’s exactly what UCLA has done with an event put on by the Student Alumni Association called Dinner For 12 Strangers. UCLA alumni – worldwide – are asked to host dinners for fellow Bruins.
Dinners can be hosted for other alumni, or for students. Last year, UCLA alumni, including Velda, hosted nearly 400 dinners over 3 weekends.
This year, Velda partnered with Debi, her fellow UCLA alumna, good friend, co-worker, and former student (!) to co-host a Dinner. I knew we were in trouble when Debi and Martin, her husband, began unloading their car to deliver their culinary creations to our home, and they brought in serving dishes bigger than I’d ever seen.
WHAT? Bigger serving pieces than Velda uses. We were in trouble.
Velda never met a recipe she couldn’t make bigger and better. Debi and her sous chef Martin apparently subscribe to the same philosophy.
I try and keep Velda under control by helping her as little as possible. I mean, she’s only got 2 hands, right? As long as I’m not in the kitchen, she can’t reach things on the top shelves, and can’t open tightly sealed containers. If I was more available to her in the kitchen, heaven only knows how much more food she would be preparing for our clan.
Martin never got that memo, apparently. And doesn’t he know that using larger dishes only encourages Debi to fill them? Martin, I have so much to teach you.
But back to our wonderful Dinner.
8 students braved the LA freeways to find our home, and settled in to meet new friends and enjoy a casual dinner. They should have all brought a bunch of classmates … the buffet was overflowing the kitchen. Those big dishes were everywhere, it seems, and they were never empty. It was a great meal, obviously! The ladies even collaborated on a dessert that was an homage to a Westwood favorite, Diddy Riese. The meal was complete.
It was a largely medical crowd (something Velda requested), so there were post-dinner discussions of brain dissections, body fluids and what wild cats do in the dark. I just may have to publish my rules for family dinner conversation next time around….
Did we do the 8-clap? OF COURSE.
I can’t wait for 2014. Rumor has it the ladies will team up at Debi’s house next time. That’s great … unless Velda demands bigger serving dishes to keep up.