Now, I can make a mean kraft dinner or cook up some tasty hot dogs, but when it comes to multi-course, many-body meals, I was definitely out of my comfort zone. As was the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world.
I won’t say we were stressed, but I had an eye twitch that wouldn’t go away and I think I started drinking about 8am on the day we had to cook. AND, I wasn’t even the one who was doing all the cooking. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world had chosen to do one of her favourites (and my job was to help prep then stay the hell out of her way.) To us both, it was important that we made our best meal ever.
Nothing defines a good family gathering like food, and this gathering was no exception. Each family member (or group) had agreed to organize a dinner for one night. With 23 people there, we had to double up a bit, which was all kinds of awesome since very few of us were skilled at making a meal for that many folks.
Or so I thought.
The first night, Baba and one of the daughters had cooked up a feast fit for kings – featuring an assortment of Ukrainian dishes and a perfectly cooked ham.
When I saw it all laid out, I had to ask. “Oh, my god, this looks amazing. Pierogis and cabbage rolls?”
“No, we have pah ah eh and holypepsi.” I was told. I didn’t understand a word. I thought I was having a stroke.
Me: ”Pehaha wha?”
“Ped. Eh. ah.” They have to speak real slow-like around me.
Me: “Pedda ha?”
Me: “And holy pepsi?”
Luckily, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world came to my rescue. She wrote it down. “Pedeha and holubtsi. Pierogis and cabbage rolls”
Either way, they were awesome.
But the bar had been set very, very high indeed.
The next day, a full on turkey dinner – With everything I love in the world. Gravy. Mashed potatoes. Stuffing. Roasted brussel sprouts. And a nifty variation on pumpkin pie.
I was in heaven.
The day after that, us. We cooked up wraps and our partners in crime made the appies, including a spectacular 7 layer dip. Being us, we worried that we wouldn’t have enough, so we made 5 times what we’d normally make, then panicked and doubled that. And then we added a bit more just to be safe.
There was enough food that night to feed a family gathering of hobbits, including the Sackville-Baggins!
But at least no one went hungry. Where I come from, there is no greater crime than having guests leave without being so full that they want to throw up.
Wow, I mean, wow!
For the 4th night in a row, I was so stuffed, my shirt buttons looked ready to shoot off and take out someone’s eye.
But by the end of that night, we had 3 fridges full of left-overs.
The people in charge of the last supper had to make a choice. Make a new meal or have left-overs. They chose to make the left-overs, but made them into the most amazing meal imaginable, slightly altering each meal to create something new.
It was a work of art.
I wish there was a funny story to tell, but even with the flaming drinks (which could have gone so very, very wrong), there was only great meals and wonderful conversation. The teenager who was so incredible with the kids (the bocce ball night), also turned out to be an incredible bartender, and while he didn’t make the flaming drinks, he was our master mixologist.
I think I drank more in that week than I have in the last 2 years. Even with all that I drank, I don’t recall making a complete ass of myself, so, yeah, let’s call that a success (hey, I didn’t wake up in a strange bed, or naked on the beach with a flag pole stuck somewhere it shouldn’t.)
As a writer, without any disasters, it’s tough to write about, but as the newest member of that family, it made the whole experience something pretty damn impressive.
I will always equate food with love and I felt so very loved this week.