This is a slogan that Penzys Spices makes available on a bumper sticker. The pithy little saying speaks to the way love translates itself through food.

Last Saturday night, a fashionista and an architect made a room full of people feel very loved. My husband, a gardener, two teachers, a non-profit executive director, a senior-housing specialist, an IT guy, and I – your humble blogger – gathered around a dinner table to share tasty food, engaging conversation, and a lot of laughter.

When we received the invitation to Supper @ Six from Jennifer and Peter Marks, we were – of course – delighted. I’ve known Jennifer mostly professionally for years. In recent months, our professional acquaintanceship has extended itself to a lovely personal friendship. I was looking forward to bringing our husbands together, too. Both men are smart, funny, and talented; if they had nothing else in common, they could talk about their adoring wives.

This was more than two couples getting together for dinner, however; this was a full-fledged dinner party. The intrigue of new names, new faces, new stories, and new perspectives danced in front of Mark and me all week. We really looked forward to the evening.

Finally, Supper @ Six was upon us, we arrived (bottle of wine in hand), and Jennifer greeted us warmly. Uncharacteristically, we were running late, so we managed quick introductions and slid seamlessly into comfortable conversations. Wine was flowing and delicious bruschetta and fresh crudité whetted everyone’s appetite.

The aromas emanating from Jennifer’s kitchen were magnificent. Her preparations of roasted vegetables (which included my absolute favorite: Brussels sprouts) and butternut squash risotto, were soulful and rich. As she opened lids and stirred pots, each of us eagerly anticipated the meal to come. The dishes she was preparing also gave us – her guests – an immediate conversation point that allowed us to connect with each other. The symphony of voices was fluid, graceful, and genuine.

Peter presented the evening’s centerpiece: a gorgeous platter of barbequed chicken. Yes, it was skin-on, bone-in and cooked to flavorful perfection. There wasn’t one of us who wanted to delay getting dinner underway. You’ve never seen so many people jump to get the table set!

As our group assembled around the table, we established a sense of community. We raved openly about the fabulous dinner that brought us together. We shared stories of our kids; compared notes on the challenges we face in our quickly changing world; talked about literature, and music, and art; and laughed about the crazy situations we find ourselves in from time to time.

Before we knew it, it was 11:30 and time to leave.

Jennifer and Peter planned, prepared, and gave us a tasty meal. And we felt warm and cared for and – well – loved. Thank you for providing a wonderful total experience for each of us.

I urge everyone to do the same thing for the people who decorate your life. Plan a simple but tasty menu, extend a warm invitation, and Eat It, St. Louis!

* Thank you, Tony Havlin, for telling me about a bumper sticker that led to a most appropriate title.

(Because I am a terrible photographer, I didn’t do justice to the dinner party. Sorry for the lack of photojournalism. Bear with me, folks.)