A Welcome Meal

Dana Bowen

"The meatballs were left on our porch in a Farberware pot with a loaf of Italian bread and a note that said: 'Figured you wouldn't have time to cook.'" Read Dana Bowen's essay, "A Welcome Meal" Recipe: Classic MeatballsTodd Coleman

The meatballs were left on our porch in a Farberware pot with a loaf of Italian bread and a note that said: "Figured you wouldn't have time to cook." We had just moved into our first house and the meal was a gift from our new neighbors, John and Mary, a friendly couple about my parents' age. I remember devouring a plateful on a folding table in our big empty dining room, and telling my husband that these were the finest meatballs I'd ever tasted—juicy and sharp with lots of Pecorino, and winey, just like my grandmother's. The church bells chimed and some cats fought in the yard, and we wondered aloud what life in this small town would be like. Ten years later, I think of that meal often—when I'm cooking some holiday dinner with Mary; when my young son, Jack, asks if Uncle John can make his famous meatballs; or when I come home to find that, once again, our friends have cooked too much food and have left something delicious for us on the porch.