By: Jermaine Williams

When I first moved away from home for university in Toronto, I quit family dinner cold turkey. Not to say I came from a family of children and parents who enjoyed chilled turkey, but that I stopped eating dinner with a group of people regularly. I’m sad to say I haven’t done so frequently since 2013. Roommates I had in residence at U of T all ate at different times or in their rooms while they were doing work. I don’t blame them, I often did the same.

When you study full time and work part time, it’s nearly impossible to match schedules with friends or even roommates to eat together. My friends have even started sending out “save the dates” for their birthday parties up to two months in advance just so we can all make sure we can be present and enjoy a nice dinner together.

Having just moved into Neill-Wycik in January I’ve only met a handful of people, including my roommates. Finding myself with a free evening last Tuesday, I decided to check out Dinner Club. Upon arrival I found the other attendees chatting and eating in the Café. I asked them if this was where the dinner club was, and they kindly showed me where I could grab a plate of food and utensils. With the donations of several members, the cooking team made a delicious mushroom stroganoff with a side of fresh herbs and toasted garlic bread.

We introduced ourselves, spoke about the finer points of reading week and how to best unwind, our programs and how to survive the summer heat in Toronto. Although most people seemed to know each other, they kept me involved and I never felt excluded from the conversation, which was kind of them.

After the entrée it was time for dessert. Non-dairy cookies and crème ice cream (a nice inclusive touch for someone who’s lactose intolerant like myself) and some more stories from some skilled raconteurs.

When all was done, I can say that I had a great time at my first Dinner Club that evening. In a period of our lives when we’re all so busy, it felt like a worthy cause to try to carve out time for a group of friends or even strangers to sit down and have a meal together, which is something so many of us miss out on these days. I will definitely be checking out Dinner Club again in the future.