NOSHtrekker co-founder Tahnya Butterfield reflects on what friendship looks like to her and how caring for the people in her life often means cooking for them in her home.
This is me.
I am someone who gets their energy from people. Clients become friends, strangers become friends, introductions become friends. But for me, the deepest friendships are few because trust does not come easy. At almost 50, I find that I always hold something back. Age has taught me what to guard. My focus is on others, not myself.
I like to collaborate and share ideas, but mostly I know I accept people without judgement. I am more inclined to tell my deepest secrets to a stranger I meet on holiday than to confide in a friend. For me, friends are really about connecting on a values level.
I know that on occasion people wonder: “How did she strike up that friendship?” The behaviour and areas of interest between a friend and I may look so out of sync, but what really matters is the fact we sieve decisions through a lens of family, freedom and honesty.
I don’t go on girlfriend holidays.
I prefer to travel alone, or with my family or with one friend. I appreciate the fluidity of relationships and their tendency to dip in out. A friendship to me means I listen deeply.
I can’t remember details of discussions and I am often too fluid and broad. I know I agree to things, over commit and forget. I am well-intentioned but I do need to remind my friends they have permission to remind me, pull me up when I have let them down, ask for specifics and not for possibilities. I have faulted often and upset friends because I go wide when they go deep into detail. Like, when will we have dinner?
One thing I will do for my family and friends is cook.
I would rather eat at home and linger at the dining table, talking, eating and drinking, than compete with the noise of a restaurant. I also notice friends feel comfortable to stretch out, laugh loudly and stay on for super if dinner started early.
I usually start with a theme; anything from honey to goat.
Like my mother and aunt before her, I set the table to atone, to confess the character of the evening.
The last time I cooked for friends the menu included a long grain purple rice, beef rendang (Matt and Grant’s favourite) and modified my friend Neeta’s gado gado into a grand salad. Dessert was a dish of friendly caramelised bananas finished with a blend of cream and yoghurt.
I also love eating at the homes of friends and feeling their love. It is never tit for tat. I would host all the time if they just tell me what they want to eat.