Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Big sister's new house.

She's only been in it for a year or so, about time she hosted lunch.

In my family, when we have lunches or dinners, everyone brings something, even though whoever is hosting always says 'No, don't bring anything, everything's provided', so there's always w-a-a-a-y too much food. It's like a smorgasbord, and we don't even have Swedish blood. (Well, not as far as I know.) Are other families like this, or are we totally weird?

Twenty-two attendees, big sister and partner, four children with assorted partners and friends, little brother with partner, littlest brother without partner who is overseas, son and partner with three children, mother. And me. And partner.

The spread yesterday included:

A mild yellow curry made by my mother (the one she's been doing since like about 1959) cooked for a long time so that the chicken is falling off the bone and the potatoes are almost melting.

Another, hotter, green curry made by my brother. (After mum, he's the best cook in the family. He does something I never do: measure ingredients.)

A tureen of rice to go with the curries.

A casserole of my Tortiglioni Provencale (onions, white wine, garlic, canned tomatoes, chile, capsicum, olives, walnuts, peas, mozzarella, parmesan - sounds weird, tastes great).

A vegetarian casserole featuring eggplant, chickpeas, corn and other yummy vegie favourites.

More casseroles that I forgot. Maybe some that I didn't even get to see, like they were hidden in the oven or something.

A tureen of couscous.

A mountain of Greek salad on a platter the size of a truck wheel.

A mountain of potato salad - quartered Desirees still in their pink jackets with a tangy vinaigrette-like dressing and scattered with chopped green onions.

More salads that I forgot.

A platter of buttered bread.

Meanwhile, brother-in-law was outside on the deck through the double doors grilling marinated chicken and beef kebabs on the barbecue.

Someone brought along a magnum of Mitchelton Blackwood Park Riesling.

After all of that, how can you eat dessert (this question not applicable to teenagers and children)?

Which was:

An orange syrup cake, a blueberry cheesecake, my mother's trifle (actual quote from yesterday: 'Is the trifle OK? Is there anough wine in it? I've been making this forever but I'm still not confident with it. The jelly didn't set properly and it's not very creative is it?' Are all mothers like this, deconstructing their perfectly good cooking?), ice-cream and a rich chocolate birthday cake for my sweet and beautiful niece who just turned seventeen.

Over coffee, someone was saying they knew someone who had just called their new baby Cherry, so there was a discussion about people naming their children after fruit, like that British actress naming her baby Apple.

Food. You can't get away from it.

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