Every summer, we have family from overseas visit for several weeks. There's a whole lot of shopping and prepping and cooking and eating and doing dishes and starting all over again.
I just took the extra leaf out of the dining room table and seating for six has gone back to a four-top, set for just two this week. We get a taste of the so-called empty nest syndrome soon to be a permanent piece of our lives because Baby Girl's gone to Maui with the in-laws... on their trek back to Cambodia. (My brother-in-law works for the CDC and has lived in Asia and Africa for nearly 10 years.)
These quiet, post-visit meals always take some getting used to, especially since there's a lump in my throat. I hate saying goodbye. (Especially at the curb at SeaTac at 6 a.m.)
This summer visit, we shared some spectacular spreads: grilled King salmon on the Fourth, a Thai feast prepared by Ubon (and, no, she didn't give me recipes...), a weenie roast at cousins Marge and Jim's, seared flank steak and caramelized Walla Walla Sweets, gingerbread pudding. But no matter what we're eating, it's the sitting around the big table and talking and laughing and teasing and occasionally breaking into song that I love.
It's corny, but these gatherings feed me. The meals take me back to childhood memories, hanging out in the kitchen with my grandmother. Believe me, it sure wasn't all Norman Rockwell. There were some damn dark times, too, but I'm not going to go there. I'm just going to close my eyes and think about the lazy Sunday supper when my 17-year-old nephew suggested a post-dinner game of hearts. That moment was sweeter than any dessert.
What about you? Do you have visitors this summer? What are you feeding them?