The inspiration for this issue came by way of a softly lit room on a weekday.

I was sitting at a bar counter with a good friend meeting the passersby of the evening, most of whom had just got off work. As the last rays of daylight sunk onto the streets outside, the bars’ chairs were topped and people filed into the spaces between them.

It was impossible not to listen in on what shakes loose from a typical Missoula day: traffic woes, childcare trouble, talk of the perfect sunny vacation that still remains on golden skin. Stories are all around us, and often spill out over a creative cocktail or a hearty steak. 

I know this to be true throughout my childhood. Stories of the day got their time in the spotlight over dinner, which my mother prepared daily around 6 p.m. We were called and each of us chimed in on each others’ stories, laughing and sometimes getting misty-eyed. Dinner was a place where we could be heard and filled, literally and emotionally.

Today, my dinner table often looks like that of a rotating list of restaurants. My husband and I wait with a number on our table or we wait with white cloth napkins stretched across our laps. We listen and share and reach our forks across the table to steal bites from each of our plates. Dinner is the place where we take great care of one another, and I hope the stories within this issue inspire you to relish your next feast. 

ON THE COVER

A perfect meal is one that is shared in good company. Photography Open Lens by Pamela