Sister-in-law’s Birthday Dinner

Due to a change in employment and a new work schedule, I was not in a position to create a menu and prepare my sister-in-law’s birthday dinner. Originally. My wife therefore created a menu and was looking forward to preparing it this past Saturday with me coming home from work in the nick of time to play bartender and host.
Then an unfortunate event occurred and there was a change of plans. We would have the dinner on Tuesday night. MY day off.
You have to understand that when I put on a family dinner, five course gourmet menu, I’m planning WEEKS in advance. I knew what my wife’s menu was but I had to get into EMERIL-mode pretty pronto fast. On top of which the New England Patriots had a huge Monday Night Football game against the Jets the night before. Ouch!
It went pretty much like any other family dinner: Getting up early to do as much prep as possible; creating a schedule of when things went where; feeling exhausted midway through the day; welcoming family; preparing everything; getting into a last-minute snit with my wife over some little thing; and celebrating being a family.
My wife had baked an incredible bread on Sunday night, something called Crusty Cob. It was just a good old-fashioned round artisan bread. But she told me on Sunday night a story about the yeast overflowing in the small bowl she was using and I immediately thought of a famous Three Stooges episode (“We ALL put the yeast in”) that some of you may remember.
We hadn’t had the family over in a while due to a recent remodeling project. So Shelia was showing them around just as I was putting the brie in the oven. I let her know that I was putting the brie in the oven. I took in out at the appropriate time and called upstairs that I was taking the brie OUT of the oven. I commented to my brother-in-law who was hanging out with me that my wife was most certainly going to make a comment that the brie was cold, not because it wasn’t done but because she took too long to return. Sure enough…
Now, I’m refilling drinks and not realizing that she is attempting to reheat the brie in the microwave, setting it for a minute and turning away. I will admit that mostly melted brie does taste pretty good although I’m not too fond of having to clean up dried brie after the fact.
For the most part it was an excellent evening somewhat shrouded by the fact that it was a work night. As for me, Wednesday is usually the other half of my “weekend”; unfortunately I had an 8 a.m. appointment to get my permanent crown put in.
The effort involved for these events is absolutely nothing compared to the joy of having family over, whether it is sharing time at the holidays or any other event. There is a phrase that I have used over the years which they are all now used to: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD. And when you consider the Thanksgiving turkey and the Easter ham the burgers at Fourth of July, I’m not so far off the mark.



  1. Sharyl Friebus said,

    December 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    As you and your beautiful wife know, we all so love coming to your gorgeous home, especially at the holidays with all the lovely decorations! Last night was no different. The appetizer was awesome, cold brie, melted brie, it was all delicious. The five course meal, and of course the now famous-on-my-birthday-cake…the Flan Cake which is simply scrumptious! I feel sorry for those reading this that wish they could have been there. I’d be jealous too. Lucky for us, you are a part of OUR family. Well, lucky for many reasons. Thank you again for all your hard work and a wonderful evening with family and a fabulous meal! Now on to the Christmas food! 😉


  2. tikiman1962 said,

    December 9, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    And after Xmas? Why, New Year’s Eve and more food, of course!


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