What It Is

MN Monday Night Dinner (or just Monday Night Dinner, as we call it) is a weekly meeting of minds and stomachs. We’re a hodgepodge group that’s developed over the years that gets together every Monday at one of our houses to hang out, prepare a meal together, and enjoy the results. This is not your traditional dinner party, nor a potluck dinner. People bring raw ingredients, not dishes. We don’t sit around a big table together, but rather stand, or sit on the couch, floor, or whatever gets the job done.

Who We Are

Some of us are Twin Cities natives that grew up together. Some of us met at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Some started as friends of friends, and others became friends by dating their way into the group :). It can be hard to trace exactly when or how someone joined up, but we love them all the same. Our births span the last three decades of the 1900s (still waiting for a 2k baby to join), we’ve got a decent mix of guys and girls, and students, elementary school teachers, and microbiologists (among others) are in the mix; we’re pretty open to whatever person you want to be. We apologize for some inside jokes and shared history that might make it a little daunting to break in to the group, but we hope you enjoy yourself and choose to keep coming back!

How It Works

  1. Someone volunteers to host dinner for a given Monday
  2. That person (the host) comes up with a meal plan, recipes, etc
  3. The host sends an email to all [anticipated] attendees, divvying out the necessary ingredients among them all
  4. On Monday, starting at 7 PM, people (guests) show up at the host’s house/apartment, ingredients in hand
  5. Guests have a drink, talk to each other, catch up on the week/weekend, etc
  6. People start preparing the meal (usually under the host’s direction): washing vegetables, peeling, chopping, mixing, mashing, measuring, boiling, stirring, etc.
  7. People wait for the meal to be ready; see step 5
  8. People enjoy a great meal!

The Story

(One version of it, anyway)

While we’d attended intermittently in prior years, Summer Music & Movies in 2008 consistently drew a few members of our group of friends for picnicking/socializing/etc. I loved the routine/tradition of meeting up with those friends around dinnertime, and clearly the schedule had been working for us, so upon the completion of SM&M‘s ~month-long run that summer, I suggested that we just move the picnic back to my place the next week. Despite drawing only three of us in total for the first real instance of MND, we had a blast putting together assorted flavors and combinations of hobo dinners, so our desire to continue the indoor tradition was cemented.

Every week for a year, Monday Night Dinner alternated between just two of our houses (coincidentally only ~four blocks apart), picking up a new member here and there. Then, in the fall of 2009, two of the first three attendees, plus another regular attendee over the preceding several months moved away to different schools around the country. At face value, this dealt a huge blow to MND, as it cut the number of nearly guaranteed attendees about in half, and eliminated the better one of the two hosts. Despite that, and despite a pretty rocky first dinner on our own, we were determined to keep going. It’s unclear if people recruited more aggressively, or some of the intermittent attendees felt compelled to attend more regularly, but the group grew considerably from there. Where there were once again only three people in attendance after the university exodus, dinners started to draw 16 some nights. Where there was, for some time, only one host, there were sometimes six in a rotation.

While some favorite dishes have been repeated several times by now, much of what’s prepared is still new to the group, and pretty much everything is fair game. Certainly some dinners have been better than others, but we’ve always managed to pull together and get everyone fed (and, for the most part, things have turned out very well). Indian, Thai, and Japanese curries, home-made pasta noodles and sauces, sushi rolls, breakfast for dinner, enchiladas, borscht, cheese fondue … we’ve tried a lot over the years, and are excited to try more. (We do have vegetarians in the group, so there’s always a good meatless preparation, if not an entirely meatless meal.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.