I thrive on chaos – on last minute plans – on spur of the moment get togethers. Take last weekend for example. My parents were visiting on Saturday and I was cooking for six of us (Mum, Dad, Eamonn, Ellie and Ruth). Easy peasy and perfectly civilised. I was at the shops at 8.30 on Saturday morning picking up the last bits and pieces. Everything was timed to perfection and we had a lovely dinner with lots of laughs around the table. My job was done. I was the perfect daughter (well sort of!). Then my son rang from Dublin as we were enjoying our after dinner coffee. He too, wanted to see Nana and Grandad so he planned to come visit them on Sunday morning with his girlfriend Edel before Nana and Grandad returned home. And I just can’t help uttering the words “come down, I’ll cook!” Every. Single. Time. And the plan was made – brunch at Hunters Lodge on Sunday morning. Kate was spending the weekend in Dublin studying for exams, so we decided to leave her be – there’ll be plenty of get togethers over Christmas. But Granny Dillon was free, bringing out little brunch party numbers to nine.
So there I was at 9.30am on Sunday, standing in the kitchen, wondering what on earth would I cook and where would everyone sit? My first job was to make some soda bread – at least we would have fresh bread and lashings of butter so I was off to a good start. This is where big families are great. Grandad was tasked with adding the insert to the kitchen table and covering it with the Christmas tablecloth. Eamonn went in search of extra chairs. Ellie worked with Grandad to set the table and Nana and Ruth were dispatched to find the prettiest china cups and saucers. I raided the fridge.
Fortunately for me, Spar had just sent me a hamper of goodies from their Select Range so that took care of the rashers, sausages, pudding and orange juice.
I had lots of mushrooms so I sautéed them in rapeseed oil.
Having Glenisk yoghurt in the fridge meant pancakes were a definite.
I had a dozen eggs, a few left over tortilla wraps, shallots from the garden and a few slices of cooked ham. I just added cheddar to make delicious toasted cheesy egg wraps.
Now the photos aren’t great I know, but I was trying to grab a few pics while making pots of tea and coffee!
My mother definitely thought I was insane. Why offer up a quiet Sunday morning and put myself under the pressure of cooking for nine people?
Here’s what I told her..
It’s not about the food, it’s about family. It’s about the love and the laughter; the noisy debates and the stories shared. Who cares if we had ended up with only bread and tea? The only thing I cared about was that the eight faces looking at me around the table were happy (we all missed Kate though, who is without doubt, the life and soul of our parties).
So give me chaos and noise any day. Give me madness and mayhem, for this is when I’m happiest..
You’ll find my honey remedy feature in the current edition of Irish Country magazine.
“Food from an Irish Garden” is available in bookstores nationwide.