The Stud and I took a little trip last weekend. If there is anything I revere more in life, it is tradition. We have taken an annual lake trip since its inauguration three years ago. This year, almost half of the original gangsters (OGs) that started it were in attendance! It’s a weekend filled with sun, fun, booze, and food… it gets better every year. We have learned from years past, what works, what doesn’t. This year, I decided to take a stab at menu planning (shocker, I know) for our group. We’ve always ended up with too much leftover and food no one eats. Coleslaw, I’m lookin’ at you.
I thought about and wrote out our timeline and thought of the basics of a good meal. Protein, veg, starch. Breakfast and lunch would be almost the same every day. Dinner would be at true treat. And what is vacation without dessert? So yes, sugar was present. (You can find the full menu in a PDF at the bottom of this post). When the menu was completed, I organized a spreadsheet by bundles and approximate cost of each so friends could see that everyone would be spending about the same amount on staples for the house. No one would have hurt feelings or weirdness about eating something because we were all bringing the same amount.
This is easy, pretty clean food, y’all. Think marinating meat that you throw in at 11 a.m. and let sit in the fridge all day. Cut potatoes early so they can soak in water. Slow cook ribs early and finish on the grill. Food that isn’t going to hurt if it’s prepped ahead of time…and it won’t completely screw up your clean lifestyle in the process. Oh, and have I mentioned eating asparagus can help prevent hangovers?
Cooking for 27 (the size of some small restaurants) in a house sans commercial appliances, space, etc. to serve supper is a challenge and our house came together as a team. These evenings really reminded me of our Italian family holidays growing up, or even Sunday Supper. You know, those big, family dinners that just feel so damn special—they warm your insides. Everyone in our group got to enjoy a lake-sunset cocktail before dinner prep really began. Our suppers were definitely part of the #slowfood movement to ensure that 20lbs of chicken thighs were safely cooked evenly on a grill that is almost the same size of the one The Stud and I have at home (we also learned we won’t purchase a Kitchen Aid brand grill, so there’s that).
Someone in the group was talking to me about all of the cooking and he said, “You know, we are probably just a few years out from hiring a chef and having them come stay with us rent free to do all of it.” It kind of made me think, maybe he’s right, we probably aren’t too far away from that reality as long as the OGs can keep it going...instead of just having one sunset cocktail, maybe I’ll have two.
The long weekend was filled with much needed rest and relaxation. It’s important, and good for the soul. Even though my sleep got a little off kilter and I ate way past my normal bedtime (should I mention that sunset cocktail again?) I was surrounded with good people and laughter, and the rest took care of itself.