Sunday, July 26, 2009

MeatFest '09

For the past several years, our family (Mom, Grannie, Aunt D and Uncle J, my cousins J and J and their families, my sister Mel and brother Jeremy and their families) has gathered at my aunt and uncle's for a reunion of sorts. It takes place in July and serves as the half point gathering of the year (Thanksgiving and Christmas are the other times we're usually all together). I don't think of my family as very big (I only have two first cousins), but now that everyone has children (their are seven grandgirls, with one more on the way), we number 24. Plus Andy and I bring our niece Cameron and nephews Carson and Christopher from the other side of the family. This year, the weather was unseasonably comfortable for July in Alabama; the temperature was in the low 80s. We stayed outside in the shade all day.

Southern family reunions are known for the spread of food, but our gathering has a special name because we always have an overabundance of meat. Andy coined the name several years ago and it stuck. Now as a joke Mom monograms us MeatFest T-shirts each year. (You might be a redneck if…) Anyway, the amount of meat this year did not disappoint. In fact, it took two huge grills and three smokers to produce this much. We had hamburgers, pork chops, smoked ribs, grilled ribs, hot dogs, sausage, Boston butt, and steak. (Definitely not a place for a vegetarian!) The side dishes were equally as numerous (most folks can't resist some contribution): roasted potato wedges, Panzanella, coleslaw, corn salad, green beans, watermelon, not one but two slow cookers of baked beans, corn on the cob, Waldorf salad, rolls, and chips. For dessert, we had birthday cake for my niece Emma, ice cream, and Fried Peach Pies. Believe me when I say that after the 30 folks who came went through the line, it didn't look like anything had been eaten!

It's hard to imagine what so much food looks like and my photos don't do it justice. In order to have enough room for all of it, the meat was on a fellowship hall table in the dining room and the sides were on two tables in the kitchen.

I love this time with my family. It's laid-back and just a whole lot of fun. We spend the whole day reminiscing and laughing! The kids enjoyed the two inflatable water slides of Uncle J's as well as the awesome play set he built in the yard. Looking forward to MeatFest '10!

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