Ciao'd while watching Food Network Kids Stars. Just say "no" to chicken nuggets.

Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold. My childhood best friend, Laura, and I used to sing this song in the round, sitting on top of one of the huge, gray boulders on her property. 

This week I’ve been thinking about that verse and wondering, what about the bronze friend? Or the lead (toxic metallic) friend (aka Frenemy)? Where do they fit in the friendship category? Silver and gold friends are easy to define. Bronze ones not so much.

I have many silver friends. I love them for meeting me for lunch and a chat every month or so, providing support for my work or commiserating about our kids on the sidelines. I am fond of my tennis girls and our regular weekly games where we chat too much at the change over but can’t stop ourselves from sharing updates on our kids, the movies we saw the week before, and gossiping about the club goings-on. I relish running into my silver friends at parties and reconnecting over sips and savories. Reconnection is the operative word. Whether it’s weekly, monthly or occasionally, we come together and depart happier for it. 

Gold friends are prized, dear, and beloved. These are the reciprocal relationships founded in emotional support, sharing confidences, weathering the good times and the bad times without judgment or condition. These are the friends who see you at your worst and steadfastly stand by you - like the time (or times) you were a blubbering mess, face swollen and nose running. She hugged you even though she knew you’d sully her Prada top beyond what a dry cleaner could rescue.  She’s the one who will tell you that you look fat in your jeans when your husband won’t. She’s the partner in crime who escapes with you during the middle of the day to cry at a chick flick.  She cooks with me in my kitchen, and I in hers, in the synchronized dance perfected from our years of cooking together for parties and holidays and dinner with friends (AM, It’s time to cook it up!). We laugh together sophomorically; I cry with her  in solidarity. You get the gold thing if you’re lucky enough to have one, two, or three gold friends. I am fortunate to count three among mine, not counting my sisters who are more gold than gold. 

I’m trying to understand the bronze friendship. This seem to be defined by place and event. Carpool acquaintances from the elementary school years, my yoga teacher, my hair stylist, my dog walker, the neighbors across the street who watch out for my house and I for theirs. I value all the bronzes but, if I were to employ metaphor (and I will), if I were a cake, the bronzes would be the batter, the silvers the cake, and the golds the icing. Together, they make the whole, but icing brings it all together in the sweetest way. 

I am not going to entertain the Frenemies. They are the equivalent of high school mean girls, usually acting surreptitiously, masquerading as silver. But, like my mother, I have eyes in the back of my head and super keen hearing. I know who you are and so do you.

As you know, readers, I believe that food is the great equalizer. So here’s to gold, silver, and bronze friends. Let’s all break bread together, along with these succulent braised spareribs.   



Braising the spareribs in the wine, and flavoring them with rosemary and garlic, keeps them moist and flavorful. Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.

Serves 4

12 pork spare ribs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
¾ cup dry white wine

Season the spare ribs with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet, over moderate heat, heat the olive oil, garlic, and rosemary until the garlic is fragrant and the rosemary leaves are starting to brown. Increase the heat to high, add the spareribs and cook, turning frequently, until brown. Add a ¼ cup of the wine to the pan, lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes. Continue to cook the spareribs, adding the wine, a few tablespoons at a time, until the ribs are cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes more.