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Indian chickpeas and mango lassis

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The Gourmand Mom

(Read caption) A blend of spices flavor these chickpeas and sour cream creates a sauce.

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We spent last weekend at a rental house in the Catskill mountains with some friends from college and a few of their close friends. Ten adults. Eight little boys ages 6 month to 6 years. An endless supply of good food. Late nights and early mornings. Amazing fun.

The weather was cold and rainy, but the house was well equipped to keep everyone occupied. We played air hockey and foosball and pool and Settlers of Catan. The kids got lessons in backgammon, dominoes, and the card game, war. On the warmest day, we played bubbles and hopscotch. The kids enjoyed the large outdoor play set and playing T-ball in the yard, which was much more a practice in turn-taking than anything else. There were nature walks, a close call with a tick, and a perfectly freaky encounter with a snake. The jacuzzi went largely unused and the karaoke machine went completely neglected.

Each of the five families prepared a meal during our weekend stay. We ate tender slow-cooked BBQ pork with grilled sweet corn, homemade waffles with ripe strawberries and fresh whipped cream (the sweet result of a multi-person hand-whipping effort), an assortment of four types of bacon, cinnamon roll french toast bakecheddar garlic biscuits, scrambled eggs with applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, and Gruy√®re, and a taco spread that would make any mouth water. (The lime marinated skirt steak won my heart.)

And though the food was amazing, the home more than comfortable, and the entertainment plentiful, the best part of the weekend, by far, was the people. Over the course of three days, 18 of us lived together, laughing and connecting, enjoying old friendships and beginning new ones.

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