So I recently asked Ms. Finicky what it is that she craves the most about Taco Night. After all, I pointed out, she won't try tacos or burritos or any other Mexican food when we're eating out.
She shot me a major DUHHHH look.
"That's the whole thing," said Ms. Finicky. "I like Taco Night because it's at HOME. Or at Samantha's house. Taco Night...it should be lots of friends and family and everybody laughing and having a good time. AND you get to put whatever you want in your tacos. I like that. Speaking of Taco Night, when ARE we having another with Sam's family?"
For quite a while, we'd had regular two-family Taco Nights with Sam's family. The kids have all gotten older and our schedules have gotten crazier. It's been a while since we've had a Taco Night all together. But I think we're going to need to do it again soon. There's no better impromptu party, really, to liven up a school week -- especially midweek, when everyone's weary from the grind of homework and practices and carpools and can use a little pick-me-up and laidback socializing.
The grownups pile taco fixings on the table: mild and hot salsas, shredded cheese, chopped iceberg lettuce, fresh diced tomatoes, warm black beans, refried beans, ground beef (some simmered in El Paso seasoning; some plain, for the fussier wee ones. We also put out sour cream, green chiles, lemon and lime slices for those who love the kick of citrus.
Inevitably the kids are happy: they make a mess, gobble up dinner, then run upstairs or outside to play, en masse. The grownups, well...on two-family Taco Nights, we actually get to be grownups. The kids occupy themselves, thrilled for the break in routine, while the grownups clean up the kitchen together, then veg on the couch, catching up, trading PG-13-rated stories (and maybe even sipping a margarita!).
Sometimes, homework can wait. Sometimes, bedtime can wait too.
In fact, I'm going to call Samantha's mom
Do you have family or friends nearby with whom you love to share dinnertime? What's your favorite kind of No-Reason-Necessary dinner parties?