Circle Suppers

New River Valley, Virginia

L-R—(empty chair for photog, Grace Youhas); Jake & Linda Moll; Aubrey & Bonnie Bunger (hosts for March Circle Supper); Owen & Cheryl Green; John Youhas 

March Menu: Tossed Salad, Savory Cornbread, Chicken Pot Pie Casserole, Roasted Asparagus, Black Forest Cheesecake and WINE!

Once a month we happy eight, we band of brothers and sisters, meet to share food, wine, and laughs galore. One couple hosts which means they search frantically for that one entrée recipe that no one else has tried and Julia Child would envy. 

Linda Moll’s treasure of appetizers for our February supper—bacon bites wrapped around almond stuffed dates; Southern pimento cheese with a variety of crackers; herb dip with cucumbers, peppers, and celery. 

If you’re one of the guests, you choose to bring an appetizer, salad, or dessert. What will it be? A Pinterest recipe? Cook’s Illustrated? Or…a browse through your mother’s food-stained, bedraggled cookbook for her special recipe that always yielded wide smiles and bravos.

Circle Supper members come from disparate backgrounds, nationalities, and professions, but once a month food brings us together and the common ingredient is love—

Love for delicious foods, friendships that cannot be severed, and time together that will never be forgotten.

Cheryl Green with her Mixed Green Salad abundant with blueberries, candied pecans and  tossed with a tangy citrus dressing.(February supper)

Well, some of the conversations might be forgotten—like the one about octopuses (yes that is the correct plural) being aliens who hitched a ride to earth on a meteor. Or the story about how one of our members unknowingly gave her golfing friends indelible pink ink for their “faux” tattoos. Then there was the time the bear attacked the bee hives and then, but no, we can’t share that story! What we can share is our love for food!

Why do we call it Circle Supper? 

Because it circles around to everyone as hosts and encircles us in bonds of fellowship. This circle of friends is unbroken when so much in our world seems to be broken.

We friends have shared the stress of illness, isolation of Covid, deaths of siblings and parents as well as the births of grandchildren, battles won against cancer, stunning art projects, forges hand-built stone by stone, and bee hives flowing with honey. Through it all we have kept our sense of humor and our realization that we have each other. The common ingredient lives strong here in New River Valley, Virginia.

As we fill our plates and relish this time together, we are painfully aware of refugees from Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti, South America, and Africa—too many to fully comprehend. Even though we know where and when our next meal will be, they do not.

Bonnie’s Chicken Pot Pie Casserole and roasted asparagus. Linda Moll’s tossed salad and savory cornbread. Knotty Vines cabernet sauvignon (Photo by Linda Moll)

And what about the food insecure in our own backyards? At 6:30 on a Saturday night, they are not helping themselves to one of Martha Stewart’s chicken pot pies. According to the New River Valley Thrive Network, 10% of our families and one in five children experience hunger or food hardship. 

We give locally—Interfaith Food Bank, Micah’s Backpack, Beans and Rice— as well as internationally—Red Cross, World Central Kitchen, and the Red Kettle at Christmas—just a few of the many groups our members support.

John stands by with a fire extinguisher just in case Aubrey’s kitchen torch gets over-heated as he caramelizes Bonnie’s scrumptious Creme Brûlée. (February supper)

Yes, we have fun! Yes, we prepare delicious meals! Yes, we care and share! The common ingredient lives strong here in New River Valley, Virginia.

Action Idea:  How about you? I would love to hear about your dinner groups, your menus, your successes, your failures, the organizations you support. Find these recipes at thecommoningredient.com

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