This weekend, we had a couple of family members in from out of town. We decided to have a get together with everyone in my wife’s family, which is a large family. It was decided that we would have a cookout and our house was offered as the venue. In the end, it worked out pretty well, but it didn’t feel that way getting there.
We offered to provide the main course and have others bring the rest, pot-luck style. We were going with the basic, hamburgers and hot dogs. Sometimes I tend to overdo meals, so although I considered brats, chicken, etc, I limited myself. In order to get a little bit of my foodie self involved, I at least planned to make some of the burgers from scratch in a unique manner. The day before the event, we sat down to get a head count. All in all we had 21 people coming over, including 9 children. This alone sounded like a recipe for a circus of activity within and outside of our house.
Prior to dinner everyone was planning to play a round of mini-golf and then meet at our house, so I spent part of the morning and afternoon preparing. After asking for suggestions from my Facebook friends, I decided to make some burgers with embedded bacon, onions and cheese. I also attempted to prepare fruit empanadas as an hors devours to be baked as soon as we made it home. For some reason, the dough was really sticky and didn’t seem like it would work for rolling and cutting into circles. Instead of scrapping the whole batch, I just added flour until it was dry enough to roll. Did I also mention that some of our guests were hoping to catch the Chiefs game during dinner? Let me also mention that we don’t have cable TV in our home. After around 15 minutes of messing around with an antenna or two we were able to get the correct channel to come in and move onto setting up for dinner. I popped the empanadas in the oven and went to heat up the grill.
After five minutes or so, I noticed that the grill hadn’t gone past 300 degrees. Normally it would be around 500 by this point. This is when I looked at the gauge on the propane tank and saw that it was on empty. By now, most of the guests had moved outside to our patio and gazebo or playground. A Frisbee game had been started as well. Hopefully no one came too hungry. Did I also mention that although we have a patio, we have no way to get down to it from our 4 foot high doors? It was interesting to see people climbing up on a chair to get in and out of our house. I think we really need to get that deck installed. So, it was a quick run to Home Depot to get a tank replacement and dinner was back on schedule.
From there on, I think it went well. Everyone seemed to be well fed and even the kids played nicely together for the most part. The empanadas were doughy and dry, the burgers were well done but at least not burnt and there was fun and good conversation. Plus there was plenty of other good food too, including salad, pasta salad, the family secret jello dish, drinks and plenty of brownies and such. Thanks to everyone else who made this not a disaster even though apparently my lack of planning could have made it go the other way. Maybe I’m not ready to host my own dinner part, providing everything, at least not for 22 people.