Since Andel's brother got married in May, I think we've visited his parents once - by accident, when we were on a roadtrip with my parents and decided to pop by for tea. It's not that we don't enjoy being there. On the contrary, we usually go for the entire weekend. However, work and other commitments have made that we haven't been able to go for a while. So in an attempt to bridge the gap between Cape Town (where we live) and Grabouw (where they live,) with something other than the N2, Andel and I invited them for lunch today.
It should have been a very good plan. I mean it involved us getting to see them, sharing a hearty meal, and not have to use up half a tank of petrol. Then I remembered a very important little detail: I don't really know how to cook.
Can you imagine the panic that ensued? Andel comes from the farm - and I don't mean that in a bad way. My point is simply that he grew up eating what he calls "real food" (not grilled or microwaved), which is always home made, served in large portions, and laden with flavour and calories that linger long after lunch has been served.
My immediate instinct was to call in some aid. You can't have a brother-in-law (my side of the family) who's a chef, and not put him to good use once in a while. As it turns out, perhaps I have played that card one too many times, on a few levels: If I rock up anywhere with a dish I'm usually met with, "Hi Robyn, did PJ make that?". And sadly, most times he has, meaning that there is a pretty high expectation already set. I was hoping this little explanation that accompanied my plea would work in my favour. Unfortunately it did not. PJ was unable to help.
Did I mention that around the same time, my family confirmed (only a week after being invited and a mere day before the lunch) that they too would be attending - children and all? And my lunch for 4 became a lunch for 10.
So yesterday, I earnestly began putting together a menu, and frantically searching for recipes that were easy enough for my virgin hands to follow, and still with enough ingredients to constitute a decent meal.
I cooked for 6 hours, simultaneously juggling my latest Unisa assignment, doing a quick coffee with the girls, and baby-sitting Zoe and Reece. After mixing, washing up, frying, washing up, baking, and washing up again, I got to bed at midnight: exhausted, but pleased that a mere 20 minutes in the oven would have everything ready.
Then we woke up this morning to a neighbourhood without electricity!
Thankfully, alls well that ends well. When we got home from church, our electricity was back on, and Hendricks and Klaasen families together enjoyed a lunch of: butternut soup and bread for starters, chicken and broccoli pasta bake with side veggies for mains, and pear tart with custard for dessert.
And the best part: I MADE it all myself... not that I plan to repeat this any time soon!