Many a word have I written about Keith's family and their unique traditions. This weekend, a new tradition has been christened with a vengeance. This tradition has broken the mold a bit in comparison to many of the others. Many of the family gatherings revolve around those massive camping excursions that I've written about. This was a twist on those...family and friends rented a condo together at The Estates at Tan-Tar-A resort. This outing was also strictly for the family members that constitute The Notches. The Notches are the younger set of the family...after all, the grandparents often travel together on their own and every now and then so do their kids and grandkids. How were these Notches so named? One time, when this group was preparing to depart on one of these trips, Anne sent out a text message to the rest asking ever so sweetly..
Are you bitches ready yet?
...except that the Autocorrect on Anne's smart phone typed: Are you notches ready yet? And so, The Notches were born. And it was good.
Off we went on Friday night to experience our first outing with the Notches. Alas, it wasn't to be a sedate trip as a smattering of freezing rain near The Lake Of The Ozarks left a sheen of black ice that caused numerous delays and a few hair-raising moments to boot. Having gratefully arrived at the condo, we were shown to "our quarters" by young Caitlyn, Sierra and Tanner who had already taken our suite over and left us complimentary rolls of Smarties on the vanity. They took us on a tour of our suite, going over every detail; utilizing their strangely newfound British accents. The suite was indeed sweet, even with its oddly mixed nautical and golf theme. Once settled, cocktails in hand and hugs exchanged, we could finally unclench for a moment. A brief moment, that is, before we joined in with the bonkers game called Spoons. An innocent arrangement of plastic spoons in the center of a table is the centerpiece for some sedate rolling of the dice until someone gets four of a kind and reaches for a spoon...and then the scene turns into a crazy jumble of flying limbs. I felt briefly bad about wresting a spoon from a 10-year-old girl until Allie(who, in the course of the game, went from laid-back, quiet new mother to badass chick wielding an elbow smash straight out of the WWE) assured me that this family may be close, but its strictly take-no-prisoners when it comes to games.
So, yes, there were games like Spoons and Farkle and outings to outlet kitchen stores and water parks and bowling but this blog is about the food so as Sarah would say, "Focus Bitches!" because we enjoyed some seriously fine grub this weekend. There was many a highlight, including Kim and Dave's always tasty country ham and delicious tiramisu, Anne and Randy's killer Pasta E Fagioli, and Allie and Tim's homemade biscuits and gravy. K and I and Jill and Chris were responsible for Saturday night's dinner and so we took the opportunity to bust out some of the new cooking hardware we've been blessed with. We made the feta dip, which largely debuted to raves, and served them with the screaming homemade pita bread fresh off of our new tortilla maker. We then took our first whirl with our spanking new fondue pot, which was a gift to us from Jill and Chris themselves. They also brought their own pot and made a killer fondue of Swiss and Gruyere. We made one called Bourbon, Bacon and Cheddar and we served a mix of bread, vegetables and fruit for dipping. Gourmet pizzas were up next and we discovered a beauty of a pizza by accident. We used the feta dip as the cheese on a whole wheat crust and then topped it off with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, black olives and onions. It was so darn good, I can't wait to try it again. We finished off the evening with chocolate fondue, both dark and white. We dipped fruit, brownies and "angel cake"(as Sierra calls it), in the chocolate and found another revelation by dipping Granny Smith apple slices in white chocolate. Divine madness was this dinner.
The weekend was the signature cacophony of chaos that are these family get-togethers and it was as grand as always. We even got Morgan, currently serving our country in Turkey, involved through an iPad game of Words With Friends; my newest obsession. Until the next family whirlwind...