What does Friday night dining look like at your house? Is it a big spread prepared for visiting friends and family? Is it something low-key and pared-down for just the immediate household residents? Or... does it involve reservations or a take-out menu?
When I was growing up, Friday nights were about fast and easy meals that could be easily put together by either my mother or father (or both) and usually involved a mélange of ingredients, which served a very practical purpose: using up the last of the week's food before Saturday's grocery-store excursion.
If it was my father cooking, there would always be something creative and innovative on offer, something kind of spicy and a bit exotic that managed to combine what we had left in the fridge and the pantry. Stir-fries were a favourite of dad's, so was goulash or pasta with some sort of peculiar but delicious sauce. No matter what he made, there were never any leftovers. If mom was the cook, it would be more traditional, but still with emphasis on speed and a focus on 'using it up.' It might have been various kinds of sandwiches on various kinds of breads, served buffet style on our island counter with a big salad. It might also have been my mom's favourite: breakfast for dinner.
I've alredy dubbed the May, 2010 issue of Everyday Food "The Friday Night Issue," since it has so many of the components I recognize from the Friday dinners of my youth. There is even an article on the Friday night supper, how to create traditional Italian favourites with laid-back and simple flare. An article on having breakfast for dinner (eggs, hash, French toast, etc.) sealed the deal for me.
The Friday night menu (Italian in theme) is a mouth-watering selection of favourites, including zucchini bruscheta, prosciutto-wrapped bread sticks and pork milanese with arugula salad.