Many families partake in the ritual of Sunday Supper. Big dining room tables, filled with immediate and extended family, over “macaroni and gravy” as my long island italian family calls it. Chatter about life, kids, family memories. Maybe capped off with a beautiful dessert and coffee. Then everyone goes home – with full bellies, and hearts. Until the next week.
(Cue sound of record scratching)…Yeah, not so much in my family. We actually don’t have regular Sunday Supper. However, when a family member comes in, we all flock together like dysfunctional and loud squawking seagulls. And so was the case this weekend when my cousin was in town.
If you’ve read my blog at all – you know about my mother (who by the way, currently cannot stop kvelling because a “stranger” approached me at Annie at the Broward Center this weekend and said, “Are you Rachel?, I recognized your mother from your blog!” Made. My. Day. And my mother’s because she not only loves that people are reading it, but that she can take credit for my fame. Win win for a Jewish mother).
So my mother is not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants gal. And a simple Sunday get together gets as much attention as a house of 12 for a Jewish holiday. Endless
nagging conversations about what she should serve. A million confirmations on timeframe. Over and over like groundhog day.
Finally (after days, hours, minutes and seconds of obsessive planning), she decides on deli sandwiches. She also made a kugel and potato pancakes (there’s ALWAYS a kugel. Some people do crudite, my mother does kugel – and only once did she leave out a main ingredient).
As with any gathering, there is ALWAYS an issue with whatever food my mother decides to bring in.
One of the most notable was the twisty tie incident. A “near-death” experience caused by a twisty tie in the potatoes from an Aventura haunt probably trying to blackball my mother from future orders.
This time however, it was proven that, at Publix, shopping is NOT in fact always a pleasure. You see, the platter of sandwiches was not cut through all the way. This caused mass hysteria since my mom does not use real silverware, and could not separate the sandwiches with her obligatory plastic silverware. Her knife just wouldn’t cut it (pun intended).
The bottomless sandwich monopolized at least 20 mins of conversation and threats on how Publix was going to make up for this one!
Then my brother alerted everyone to the latkes being frozen in the middle, causing my mother to collect them all from everyone’s plates for round 2 in the oven. A few minutes after turning it on to preheat, she walked over and said “Somebody turned on the oven!” We let it go. She stuck the latkes back in and maybe 20 mins later, “Oh shit! I burned the latkes. Ok, who’s ready for some well-done latkes?” She’s serious.
In the midst of it all, my child accidentally knocks over a wine glass. It’s painful in this house in particular, because my mom and bob keep it sterile-clean. Everything is white, brown, beige (even the dog) and marble or glass. So when a glass of red wine spills, it’s a pretty dramatic difference. But no problem. Bob bends down to pick up the shards of glass and wipe up the Malbec, erasing any evidence of a mess. Like it never happened.
He asks me to grab the vacuum. And when I did, my cousin’s jaw dropped and he said, “What the eff is that?!”
Yup. A traditional vacuum cleaner may as well be clutter. My parents like everything in its place and built-in if possible. This goes for soap/shampoo dispensers in the showers, toilet paper rolls in the drawers, coffee maker, and a centro vac in the closet.
Then, gram wanted to sit in the sun, so mom stuck her on her chair on the balcony. My daughter wanted to play with the karaoke machine and who’s a better captive audience then a 91-year-old woman stuck on the balcony? She gave her great grandma directions, and when we looked out the window, even though my daughter was back inside, gram was still obliging and singing her heart out.
Perhaps about an hour later my mom yells, “Shit! Grandma is probably fried out there! Someone bring her in!”
Even though the food is always out and open for public consumption, my mother does not stop walking around offering it. She’s like a human lazy susan, bringing around different offerings each time. Doesn’t matter if you said you’re full. Doesn’t matter if you have a heaping plate of food already. It just doesn’t matter.
We are all stuffed to the gills and she comes out with pizza. Yep! No idea how it fits into the mix other than she probably ordered so that my brother wouldn’t starve to death waiting for the real food, and my daughter had something she considered edible.
“Anyone want pizza?” “Who wants a slice?” “It’s well-done!”
At the sight of pizza, everyone starts to leave (because they know it’s only a matter of time before she starts walking around with the kugel). “Gary, take some kugel back to your hotel room! You’ll want to nosh later!”
And instead of a quiet dessert and coffee combo, my night ended with a 5-yr old having a melt down over nothing and then passing out in a post-bath coma on the drive home.
And my mom’s most likely ended trying to pawn off the kugel to the building valet.