Today was one of those days. All was great except: 1. The grand kids had a short day at school today and were going to be home around 1:30. 2. Army daughter invited her siblings and their families over for dinner tonight since they are moving out this weekend - all 16 people. She wanted it to be her last big dinner here that she prepared. 3. I had to go to the office because one of the people whom I supervise (but works four hours away) was coming to my office so we could work on a project together.
This all sounds doable, right? I knew things were going to be a little hectic at the house so I told the grand kids to stay after school for the free daycare. They rarely stay after because they don't do their homework like they are supposed to. Since I can usually be home by the time their bus drops them off then they come straight home from school. Except for them having the short day today.
That wouldn't have been a problem except I had to be at the office to work on the project. I could have had us meet at the house but I was expecting a bit of chaos because Army daughter was to be preparing dinner. It normally takes her a couple of hours to make our regular dinner and this was for three times the number of people. So it was an office day. At least until 3:00.
Army daughter called at 1:00 to tell me that she had to go sign papers for the new house. Oh and she needed to go to the bank to get a cashiers check. Not a surprise here, at least to me. I don't think they quite understood that you don't just write a personal check when buying the house. She assured me that she was going to do the shopping for dinner and would be back home in time to make it.
Army daughter called at 2:00 to tell me that she was still out running around getting things for the title company. Again she assured me that she had it all under control.
At 3:00 I left the office to head home. I called Army daughter and asked if she wanted me to pick the groceries up and start making the dinner. No, she's got it all under control. And remember I need to make the bread for tonight. OK, remember you told everyone that dinner would be at 6:00. You have three hours.
So what did Army daughter need to get at the store? You see, I was planning on having chicken tonight. I just wanted a good count of who was coming so I knew how much to take out of the freezer. Army daughter didn't want chicken. She wanted a roast, but not any of the roasts I had in the freezer. She needed to buy one from the store. She also wanted to buy carrots from the store. You see, our carrots are not exactly the same diameter and she wanted them all to be the same diameter when she cooked the honeyed carrots. And lastly, even though I have about 10 different kinds of pastas in our storage program, and I make homemade noodles too, they were the wrong kind. She wanted No Yolks noodles. Why she is on this egg white only kick I'll never figure out. But all this meant she had to go shopping for the proper food for dinner tonight.
The noodles were being made into a casserole. Noodles - two pounds (you cook the noodles before combining with the rest of the recipe), 8 eggs (yes whole eggs), 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, melted butter flavor shortening, raisins and cut up apples. It all gets mixed together then baked for 45 minutes. You can eat it hot or cold.
When I got home at 3:30 the first thing I did was start the bread. I only had 2 1/2 hours from now until 16 hungry people would be sitting down at the table. I took the eight pieces of chicken, seasoned them well and put them into the oven. Then I started on the casserole. I cut up four apples and added all the ingredients together. I put them into a bowl and put it back into the refrigerator until Army daughter came home with the noodles.
Finally she showed up at 4:30. Only 1/2 hour until people arrive. Let's get the roast into the oven - how about 400 degrees? Then I got the noodles boiling. I drained them and added the rest of the ingredients, covered it and put that pan into the oven. Next I cut up her perfectly shaped carrots. Doesn't she know that they don't really come that way? They go through a machine which trims them to look the same. Anyway the carrots went into the pot with a little water, butter, and honey.
Got the bread into the oven at 5:00. I cooked it at 400 because when you cook bread hot, at least to start, it will give it a jump on rising. You can lower the temperature after about 15 minutes if you want. At 5:10 everyone showed up. I was done with all the preparations so I went outside and sat on the rocker to watch the grand kids run around the yard. Six o'clock came around, everyone was there around the table and the food was all done.
Army daughter was amazed that I was able to pull it off. She seasoned the roast...and did a fine job at that. But that was the extent of her putting the entire meal together.
After dinner, oldest daughter's husband and oldest grandson went out to the orchard and picked a bucket of apples and pears to bring home. They also took a dozen eggs with them. As son-in-law was picking the apples he said he noticed a very strange bag on the kitchen counter. It seems Army daughter bought a bag of apples from the store. We were laughing because Army daughter would rather eat fruit with all kinds of pesticides sprayed on it than something that hasn't been sprayed at all. The store fruit looks prettier. After all, every single apple was exactly the same size and had the exact same color. Ours are better. They come in different shapes and sizes and some may even have a worm.
After everyone left Army daughter kept apologizing for not helping more. I told her I wasn't upset. What she did in error was not say that she needed help with the meal. Important things came up because of the new house purchase and she wasn't able to do what she promised. She just kept thinking that she would be able to do it all. She wasn't being realistic because she didn't want to be. If I hadn't just taken over making dinner we'd still be waiting for our food.
It wasn't a big deal to pull the dinner together. It's only an overwhelming task if you look at it as five times the usual amount of people or you need to make the equivalent of five dinners at one time. I suppose, to me, it's because it doesn't matter if I'm cooking for three or twenty-three, you just add more but it doesn't really take much more time. Can you handle something like this if it was dumped on you? Would you be angry, upset, felt taken advantage of? In the two and a half hours from the time I got home until the time we all sat down at the table I put the entire dinner together. In fact, it probably only took about 45 minutes of my time to put it all together. The rest of the time I just hung out and took it easy...and took the laundry off the clothesline, and played with the grand kids and the dogs. The dinner was good, the company was good, and I am really going to miss them when they move out this weekend.