Here is a recommendation for your next family reunion – make it about the food – the food from your youth, the stuff that brings back memories.
I just got home from the mother of all multigenerational experiences – my family reunion. We stayed in 2 locations: the families with little kids shared a massive house in Scottsdale (8 adults and 8 kids between 2 and 11) and the others were at the Boulders Resort.
At any point in the day, we were in the pool, eating, reading, eating, playing games, eating, watching movies, cooking, and eating and oh yeah, drinking. The initial jaunt to the grocery store resulted in three large carts and a $428 bill – and we made 2 more trips during the course of our 4-day stay.
As the five cousins cooked and prepared food through out the holiday, we talked about the fact that our grandfather never met a meal nor a snack that he did not like. The man stood 6’4” tall while my grandmother was 5’4”. She ate like a bird most of the time and as a result, I think my grandfather munched his way through a day… popcorn, peanuts, pretzels, cheese and crackers, chex mix… Resisting the inclination to grab a handful of whatever snack lies on a counter goes against our family DNA.
I think we did him proud… During our vacation, the kids were caught sneaking my mom’s brownies, we made no less than 4 servings of the sour cream/onion mix dip, went through 5 bags of Ruffles (2 were low fat – like that mattered…), mowed through untold numbers of Frescas and diet cokes, devoured 7 pounds of salmon, 10 pounds of pasta, 10 racks of ribs, and drank mojitos, margaritas, beer and wine. Really, does anyone need anything else? (Maybe a cabana boy to deliver drinks to the pool?) Thank goodness we are all back in the real world the other 361 days a year…
The last evening we were together, we savored baby back ribs from Michael Chiarello and fresh coleslaw. Chas was the first to finish a rib and with a clank of the cleaned bone hitting a bowl, the eating commenced. We ate and ate… and with 14 adults sitting around the dinner table, we celebrated one birthday, told and re-told old family stories and toasted my grandparents and our heritage. And only 3 of us got weepy… a minor miracle.
Planning for summer 2011 is already underway… and I am sure the first thing on our grocery list next summer will be sour cream and onion mix – taking us right back to that familiar place of our past. Thankfully, some things do not change.