Interview Subject: Sarah & Jen
Object in Question: Surprise!
This is a somewhat special 500 Hammers interview…while when we started this project by approaching people we thought might be interested in participating, we did so very openly. But in this particular case, we kept it a secret. All I told my friends Sarah and Jen was that I’d like to see them, and I wanted their help with something special.
Sarah and Jen have been friends of mine for over four years. (Sometime not on this blog, ask about the hilariously awkward date Jen and I went on once.) They have also warmly welcomed Clockstone Studios owner Zac into their home and friendship, with an ease and grace that is one of their most distinct qualities. They are puppy-owning, mild and quirky ladies who call each other “ma’am,” like staying in to cook, and love feeding their guests. Seriously, if they ever invite you for dinner, go.
Their placement in this week of our project is very deliberate. About a month ago, an unexpected email showed up in my inbox. In it, Sarah and Jen laid out a plan that I think a lot of their friends knew was coming, though none of us expected it so quickly and I can confidently say that all of us are moved and thrilled to be invited.
This Sunday, August 1st, Sarah and Jen are getting married. When I went to see them on Friday, Sarah commented to me that she felt odd inviting friends whom they have not seen in many months, as though such an out of the blue invitation would be seen as rude, coming on the heels of such a long silence.
I confess, I laughed. “Your friends love you,” I said. “We want to celebrate with you. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we all hung out.”
That night they cooked: pasta with bacon and snap peas, a thin egg sauce that cooked in contact with the hot noodles, thrown together in a wok at the last minute. Utterly delicious, surprisingly subtle. Their Bisson terrier sat in my lap as we caught up. These women are the sorts of people who lose themselves in their lives, so sometimes we go months without seeing one another. But in the end, it’s always all right, in the way that sometimes friendships carry through long periods of silence without anyone even noticing the lapse.
Jen has just graduated from massage school and is about to begin her search for a new job, having left her old one just in time to relax before their big day. Sarah was sent to a conference last week by her job, and we traded stories about business trips and corporate culture.
They cooked around one another, Jen making salad while Sarah directed the pasta and mixing of ingredients, delicate balances of warm and cold dishes. The pasta was homemade, but perfectly rolled and cut. As it turns out, they told me, they bought a pasta roller after finding the recipe for the homemade pasta online and realizing how amazing it was. They decided they needed a way to be able to make it all the time…
This is a somewhat short interview, because we’re trying something new this week: the object we’ll be making for Sarah and Jen is a surprise. Partially a surprise for them (it is a wedding gift, after all) and partially a surprise for us. We hope that this project will give us a chance to interpret the characters and needs of the people we interview no matter what they ask us to create for them – even if they ask for nothing at all. Feel free to guess, or even make suggestions.
Sarah and Jen, thank you for all the great meals, thank you for inviting us into your home time and again, and thank you for generally being wonderful people. We can’t wait to see you this weekend and share your celebration.