This is the third post I've started in the past two days. I'm pretending I don't have a head cold, but I still can't talk myself out of the vaguely underwater feeling I have. It doesn't make for very coherent thinking...or writing.
Today was the annual lunch trip that we and two other families (the P Family and the H-S Family...I write about them all the time) take to our local hamburger restaurant. It started out as a four times a year event and we did it to celebrate the birthdays that occurred in our three families in the past three months. The birthday children get the treat of a milkshake. Over the years as we've all added more children, it has become a once a year event and everyone gets a milkshake. For a while, the same waiter worked there for several years and got to know us and didn't panic when we all walked in. But he has since moved onto better jobs and we have to break in a new waitress every time we visit. Someday I'll take a camera so I can document the abject panic that 22 children and just 3 adults elicits from the unsuspecting server. But we have a system. We seat the children by age groups, with the youngest five sitting with the adults. (It's a big day when you are old enough to sit at a table sans adults.) Today, that gave us five different tables...the oldests (15-18), the older middles (12-14), the younger middles (8-9), the youngers (5-7), and the adults and littles (the babies, 2, and 4 year olds). Everyone knows which group they're in, so there is no bickering about seating. Secondly, only the mothers order or have interactions with the server. Can you imagine waiting while each child tried to do their own ordering? Since some haven't been in the US for very long, there is also the whole language issue as well. This way we can keep each family's order straight and it makes it easier to pay the bill at the end. Thirdly, all three of us mothers have perfected 'the look'. The 22 children are pretty well behaved, but if someone forgets him or herself, often it only takes the corresponding mother to give 'the look' to bring back order. Here is a picture of some of the children at some of the tables:
In other news, yesterday I went to help teach healthy cooking at the local woman's shelter. There were ~30 residents there and we managed to get enough dinner prepared and on time for all. I'm not sure how much actual cooking was learned, but the healthy food was popular. By far the most popular food was the homemade ranch dressing we served along with the salad. It was so popular that the tripled recipe ran out before everyone made it through the line. I thought since everyone liked it so much I would share it with all of you. It's from the La Leche League's cookbook, Whole Foods for the Whole Family (one of my favorite cookbooks, by the way).
Buttermilk Salad Dressing (just like ranch)
1/2 c. light mayonnaise
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 t. dried parsley
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. salt
Combine all ingredients in bowl, mix well. Chill before serving. Yield: 8 (1 oz.) servings.
Oh, and thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. You can all go back to lurking again, as I am feeling slightly more balanced. In my next fit of self-absorption, I'll just go back and re-read the comments.