Thunderous Kitchen

I’ve written in other places about going home, and the things that happen when we all get together. There are six of us siblings, and we’ve always been loud, rambunctious and overwhelming. When one of us who lives far away comes home to visit, the rest get together and prepare a large dinner at my dad’s house.

Nowadays of course, there aren’t just the six of us. There are the grandchildren, and now a great-grandchild. The house isn’t very large, and the kitchen is a basic 10′ x 12′ 1970s model with very few amenities. (In fact, my father never seemed to have a decent set of knives ever, so I took to buying him good knives that were reasonably sharp.) All of us are pretty good cooks, if I do say so. My brother, now a computer programmer and law school student, worked his way through college as a chef, starting out in small eateries and ending up in a classy Denver area restaurant. He’s an excellent trained chef, but the rest of us have our moments, too.

The other thing we share is a dry sense of humor. We tend to pick at newcomers in the fold (new boyfriends, new husbands, new friends). We call this behavior “grilling” the person, like you would a steak. The intention is to make sure that person is worthy of inclusion into this very special circle. The outsider has to have a special sense of humor too. One such person is my best friend from high school. She endured my father calling her Suzie Q 35 years ago, and still shows up occasionally for a family dinner.

Last night we had one of those dinners at my dad’s house. The kitchen is always full of action, and it’s amazing that we can get anything done in there. My own daughter dislikes these get-togethers, because we ARE loud. Come to think of it, my husband never cared for them either. You have to be able to get into the action and hold your own.

My dad takes a beer and retreats into the sun room in the back of the house. He built it especially for these family reunions. The room is the entire length of the house, about 40 feet, with a table just as long in the center of it, and so can easily accommodate 30 people or more.

I ended the evening by arm wrestling my 12 year old nephew and throwing him to the floor. He got into my face after I teased him about his girlfriend. (You love her, you lurv her, lurv her, lurv her!) I think he was in shock that an old lady like me could do something like that.

Actually, so was I.

🙂

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8 Responses

  1. This sounds like a sweet time! We can never show our true ridiculousness with anyone else like we can with our family.

  2. My ex’s family is like that but they don’t really grill the new comer. They, instead, tease the hell out of each other. They call it the “family chop”. They say things to each other that would really hurt feelings if said to a non-family person.

    I miss large family gatherings. I don’t get together with my family very often. I think the last time we got together at my mom’s house, it was just the four of us girls and our families. No brothers or their families. That was about 1996 or so.

  3. This sounds like our family get togethers, there are always a large number of us, and someone is always getting ripped about something. New boy/girlfriends, are always picked on- or broken in, as we say.

  4. That’s what family is for – to test the waters and make sure the newcomer is worth the trial by fire.

  5. I’d much rather John get grilled than killed with kindness, which is what usually happens with one side of my family. When that happens, you’re never sure what’s coming next…

  6. Geez, stop beating up children, ya bully.

  7. In bluegrass, nicknames and grilling are sure signs of acceptance.

    Dr. B

  8. Grilling’ and grillin’ are too, Dr. B. 🙂

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