August 20, 2008

Our Big Fat Irish Family Gathering

We are two weeks away from the annual all in our Irish family weekend gathering. You could call it a family reunion of sorts I suppose. Four generations will be gathered in one place.


This is our crest.
This is our family tartan.

I’ll try to make this long story short… This annual family event began a few years back.
My parents (Mom to be specific) became passionate about tracing our roots, which lead to her (then and now) active participation in the local Genealogical Society, which lead to her connecting with more of our Celtic ancestors. Dad a true to his roots Irishman decided that the best place to find information on his ancestors, family history, etc. was to go where all good Celts gather…the Celtic Festival and Highland Games. They enjoyed the festival so much, connected with many distant and some semi close kinfolk that they ask their children to accompany them the following year. Being the dutiful children they were, they respected their elder’s wishes and attended. Those children in turn ask their children to join in the family affair and so on and so forth.

Basically we do this to make our parents happy, our kids do this to make their parents and grandparents happy and it is a good excuse for all of us to get together. Pretty much we have a darn good time. We dress up in costumes and kilts, eat too much, laugh a lot and put the fun in dysfunctional.

This year home base for the gathering is the farm. I should be scurrying around preparing and organizing for their arrival instead of sitting here typing. Right now I don’t feel like scurrying, know this later will bite me in the butt and I will regret it.

My costume for this year is almost done. Sister is sewing matching skirts for us. She is coming down a few days prior to the gathering to do the final fitting and hem. We are planning a "girls day out", a day at the local salon for a bit of pampering. Gotta look gawgeous darlink for the event. We also take this quiet time before the gathering to put the finishing touches on all the vending products and get things organized for the vending booth. We have a vending booth (more about that later) and the parental unit host a clan tent at the festival.

My main concern right now is the menu for and feeding the 20 some odd people while we are not at the festival. I have decided on a family favorite for Friday evening arrival dinner, our late grandmother’s recipe of spaghetti and meatballs, plus garlic bread and veggie salad from the garden. I can keep the sauce simmering on the stove and it only takes a few minutes to cook up the pasta. Should be simple to have ready while they filter in during the evening hours.
Wanting to keep the food in with the Irish weekend theme gave me a bit of grief, though I believe I have figured it out.
If you were to go to Ireland, a traditional Irish breakfast would be - scrambled or fried eggs served over a piece of toast, bacon (AKA Rashers), 2 links of sausages, sautéed mushrooms, a grilled tomato, fried potato's, black and white pudding.
Definitely not in the mood to stand over a hot stove and cook all this for the family, especially the puddings. Ick. I will take the easy way out relying on another traditional Irish item served for breakfast – oatmeal. Nix on having oatmeal porridge, decided to bake oatmeal muffins to go along with our version of Scottish eggs and a fruit tray.
For the family dinner after the festival I have narrowed it down between 3 main dishes, Corned Beef and cabbage, Shepherds Pie or Irish stew. Decisions, decisions. Will make up some scones/shortcake, brown bread, along with creamed peas and potatoes. Unsure of desserts at this time.

I am looking forward to all being here. Know it will be non-stop activity for 3 days, though well worth it. I'm looking forward to seeing the animals at the festival. Love the herding demonstrations. Last year a young lady had Shetland sheep on display, which are on the top of my I Wantitis list. Who knows maybe I will bring home a lamb. Woo Hoo.

If you would like to check out the festival information site, here’s the link (if I can get it to work)