Yesterday was mom's 75th birthday and her first to spend without dad after 55 years of marriage. Lil'sis decided to make the trek with her kids for the occasion, both to celebrate and console.
As you could guess from all my earlier posts, family gatherings include food of mythical proportions. You never know when 100 uninvited guests might show and you simply have to have food for all of them.
I made two cakes for the event: a walnut torte with maple whipped cream icing and a lemon poppy seed cake that got 4 forks on Epicurious.com. I'm a big fan of epicurious.com for a number of reasons; you can find so many recipes on there, the recipes are rated and you can read reviews of the recipes, some of which give you tips on improving the recipe.
I find myself laughing at the tips, especially when they seem to take the recipe off into a tangental direction. While a recipe for a cheesecake might tell you that they cut the sugar from 1c to 3/4c, another recipe for lo-fat chicken in lemon sauce will suggest that you replace the chicken with beef - saute it in butter first - and replace the lemons with habanero peppers...
I usually just look to make sure that the recipe has more than 10 reviews and more than 3 forks... as far as I'm concerned - you can't go wrong with these recipes.
And so it is that I showed up with two cakes - one that was made with two sticks of butter and another that used a full dozen eggs and was slathered in whipped cream... If I could make desserts for a living and know that people would buy them and that I'd be able to pay the bills, I'd actually consider it... but it's a hobby...
For the occasion, Louie bought 20lbs of cold cuts (mom asked for something low-brow given Easter is Sunday and two sit-down meals back to back seemed over the top) and we made all the fixin's for picnic food to go with the sandwiches...
...to add to it all, Noop brought a plate of veggies and Magoo's girlfriend brought platter of sliced fruit.
There was a lot of food.
I spent much of the afternoon with Sparrow trying to figure out how a boy of his age could look at a little furry creature and pull a trigger to pop it full of lead; he seems so normal otherwise.
Too much time with a child and I start to feel parental, but I'm not good at it.
I think it happens to all of us. We see a child heading for an electrical outlet and we want to tell them "No". A child starts to run around the pool and we say, "No running..." "Be careful... watch out... stay in your seat..." It's ingrained in us. I'm not the person who could look at a child who was learning to ride a bike and say, "If you peddle a little harder you might get down that hill faster..." or "I bet the big old pit bull would love to play tug of war with that bone...", but I lack where others excel.
So here I am, hanging with Sparrow, tossing bean bags in the back yard, bowling on the Wii (his Wii hates me too) and suddenly it's time to eat...
we move into the kitchen,
everyone grabs a plate,
we pray together,
as I begin to load my plate he starts to nibble,
I make a sandwich,
Sparrow pops a little carrot in his mouth,
load up the mac salad on my plate,
takes a piece of cucumber,
grab a few deviled eggs,
he grabs some mellon and celery,
Red pepper slices,
And then, the wisdom of the ages kicks in and showing all of the wonderful parenting skills I have developed over the years in watching other people, I say to him,
"Don't fill up on the vegetables..."
Now, I could very easily have said, "Don't eat from the platter" or "put some on a plate and come sit down...", but , well... that was not at all what I meant...
In some sick way I was actually concerned that he'd eat too many veggies, too much fruit...
...spoil his dinner with fiber and nutrients and forego the four basic food groups:
With those three magic words lil'sis proved that she's a better parent than I could ever be, "GET A PLATE!"... ...and then shot me a look; one that I have come to refer to as "the Kevork" because of its power to put you out of her misery.
...but you see, I don't need to work on my parenting skills... I need to perfect my uncling skills... As far as I'm concerned, who better to teach you bad habits than those who love you most...
On the eighth day God created Uncles and while they weren't necessarily "good" they weren't necessarily bad either... ...and they sure were a whole lot more fun.