Ahhhh, Friday! And this one is rainy and cold. Even better. It means that ‘fireside supper’ will be even more enjoyable. On Fridays in my house we gather in the living room anytime between 5 and 8 and sometimes for the entire time. Platters are placed out and everyone nibbles whatever they want for as long as they have or as hungry as they are. My whole family looks forward to fireside supper but for different reasons. • For my daughter and any friends that may be hanging around, it often includes stuff that I don’t serve throughout the week when I have a brain cell to plan, groceries to prepare and ATP in my muscles to actually move my arms and cook something. Things like frozen pizza, packaged dips and frozen appetizer packages can be found front and center. • For my husband, it is a low pressure evening that starts with a nice bottle of wine. There is no napkin to be reminded of, no timetable to adhere to (he usually does the night time shuttling) and a chance to slouch on the sofa and look at the fireplace and share the fun and games of the week. • For me, it is an opportunity to clean out my fridge. Bits and pieces of leftovers are repackaged and gain new life. Bits of cooked chicken get reheated in a teriyaki sauce and served with toothpicks. Cooked penne becomes a pasta salad. Roasted vegetables transform into an antipasto platter with the few strips of prosciutto left behind, olives and lots of cut veggies join the party. And, when that’s not quite enough to fill us, yes, something from the freezer gets thrown in the oven and joins the gang. Mealtime needn’t always be formal or home cooked to satisfy our nourishing needs. It just needs to be there. Funnily enough, it is often these meals that become special. The guffaws come easier at the fireside than at the table sometimes. If this is what it takes to keep my family together and my sanity intact, I think it’s a pretty good strategy. We will get back to broccoli and brown rice tomorrow but for today the fireside sets the pace.