Last night was my neighbourhood's Progressive Dinner. It is an interesting tradition that has happened every year around this time in my neighbourhood since before i can remember. the players change, but the sentiments of "we should do this more often, its so nice to see your neighbours" persists.
For the uninitiated, a Progressive Dinner was a suggestion from either Canadian Living or Chatelaine Magazine sometime in the early eighties as a new idea for a party. Our neighbourhood's dinner might be the longest running one, or maybe the only one that really took off. In any case here is how it works in our neighbourhood: Sometime in the middle of February, all the ladies of the neighbourhood get together and decide on a theme, and whose houses are going to host. One house for appetizers, one for main course, and one for dessert, then one or two other people get assigned to each part of the meal as well, and you work out a menu based on the theme. The theme is usually a certain region's cuisine, although one year it was breakfast food.
This year's theme was "South of the Border" or "South of the Equator" depending on who you talked to. That translated into there being some "TexMex" dishes at every course, and mysteriously, mango was very present in every course as well.
This was the first year I was invited to participate. We have some new younger neighbours that have recently moved in, and mom guessed, correctly, that my friend across the street would feel more comfortable about participating if i came too. She and I were to do appetizers, and we made a scrumptious "TexMex Flan" which had a savoury cornmeal pastry and a hummus/sourcream/salsa filling, and a variety of quesidillas (chevre and mango, spinach and cheese, gourmet salsa and cheese), and the woman whose house it was got a variety of dips.
all the dishes were very yummy. I think the most creative had to go to our new neighbours who made dessert tacos. they made tuile cookies for the shells, and had various fruits cut up for the filling, and then made a lemon creme anglaise and a blackberry-rasberry-cardamom sauce. oh, so good.
And my goodness, it was nice to visit with our neighbours.