This year, we gave up.  No one was willing to host a holiday meal for the entire clan on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Rather than completely throw in the towel, we went for neutral territory – one of the local All-You-Can-Inhale buffets.

Timing was critical – to avoid crowds, we targeted 2:00pm.  Not only between the lunch and dinner crowds, but also during the telecast of a major college football rivalry that was sure to keep many folks home and glued to the sofa-television combo.  It worked.  Plenty of room to accommodate a crew of ten.

Originally, Mom had picked her favorite restaurant – Golden Corral.  Nice enough, if your idea of fine dining involves a metric ton of breading and vats of hot oil.  On Wednesday, she changed her mind and had us assemble at an “upscale” Chinese buffet.  The use of the word “upscale”, however, is relative. 

For the most part, it was a pleasant meal.  i’d reminded my Mom and sister, S, that if they really want my brother T and his wife to come around more often, perhaps they shouldn’t bitch at them to call and visit more often.  Often before saying “hello”.  Much to my complete amazement, neither Mom nor S said a snarky word about it… 

My brother noticed.  As Mom, S and their crews piled into cars and headed out, the first thing he said to me was “It was really nice not to get yelled at for a change!”  Progress, perhaps…

The big buzz at the table was all about the most exotic item on the salad bar – the pickled baby octopi.  “Gross!”  “Yuk!” and “You’re not going to eat that, daisyfae, are you?”*

While chatting with Mom last night, she acknowledged that it was very pleasant for a family gathering.  Seemed that no one had hurt feelings, no overt drama, and there were no tears involved.  But she brought up the exotic fare on the buffet one more time for good measure…

Mom:  The food was good, but the octopus on the salad bar hurt my appetite!  I don’t know why they don’t keep those separately!  I might have been able to eat a little more if those things weren’t sitting right out there when I walked by…

daisyfae:  Ummmm…  You still ate three plates full of food, plus two bowls of ice cream and a piece of cheesecake.  i think you got your money’s worth…

Original illustration from “Charlotte’s Web” – image found here 

* i ate the sushi, which grossed out the entire table except for my brother’s wife.  She decided to try some after seeing the enthusiastic response by the rest of the clan to my ‘bait plate’… i did not, however, eat the octopus.  i like my meat and seafood processed beyond all recognition, thankyouverymuch.

47 thoughts on “Magnificent!

  1. I agree about the octopi (octopussies sounds vaguely indecent – especially since octomum). Seafood is food for sea denizens! Good that there was some genuine seasonal goodwill.

    I’ve got my family “do” on the 11th. On the beach this year. BYO everything.

  2. Mmm..Octopi. You should have tried it. I do eat Sushi and Calamari. But most of it grosses me out.
    I don’t do well at buffets. Even if I do go, I always feel overstuffed afterwards no matter how little I ate.

    • i’ve eaten it before – not particularly fond, and the suction cups are just gross to me… and yes, even though i tried to manage my portions, and just try a few different things, i felt like a stuffed tick when i walked out of the place!

  3. Octopi is awfully chewy. It makes my teeth shudder when I eat it, and I’m a sushi lover in general. I am very surprised, though, that you didn’t eat it just to gross them all out a little further, you rebel, you. It doesn’t taste like much. Reminds me a of a cheap cut of beef that seems to get bigger the more you try to chew it. Bleah.

  4. oh I LOVE octopus! Didn’t we get you to eat some in Greece daisyfae? Or was that the delicious cuttlefish? I know we got you to try something that you were previously skeptical about…..

    • i had a bite of the grilled tentacle, but was still squishy. the cuttlefish didn’t have eyeballs or legs on it, so i had less of a problem with that – and it was tasty!

  5. I also like my meat and seafood processed beyond all recognition. ESPECIALLY if it involves the word “baby” in it!

  6. My family is every bit as dysfunctional as yours appears to be, yet we managed to get throught the Thanksgiving meal without much trouble…no yelling, no fighting, no cops, no restraining orders…amazing. Congrats.

  7. There used to be a local buffet that featured a breaded and fried whole carp, head included. We called the place “scary fish” for so long that we forgot what it was really called.

    • it was good! i had a pizza party on thursday for a collection of festive strays, and then the family ‘do’ didn’t require much effort, other than the occasional bite to my tongue!

  8. I thought the only reason you went to those places was to see who could eat the most crab legs… and this year’s Thanksgiving turkey was the best i’ve had in a long time, i’ll just leave it at that.

    • had to root around for them… but yeah, they are my favorite. the ones from Stuart Little are also etched into my brain… i still have my original copies (worn paperbacks) of both books…. (sigh). read ’em to my children when they were little.

  9. No drama! That is the best news ever if you live in a clan where drama is de rigeur. . . there wasn’t any here either, for a wonder.

    I love all seafood EXCEPT sea urchin roe and gonads. I have tried them both (in sushi) and found them just a little TOO fishy for my taste. I love sushi, and sahimi. I prefer my octopus smoked, though.

    Sounds like your Thanksgiving was satisfactory in the extreme. And I’m glad, since it looks like the next months as you deal with your mother’s health are going to be very stressful indeed.

    • “satisfactory in the extreme”. i like that. i ended the weekend relaxed and balanced, for the most part. that’s as good as a holiday gets in my extended family! here’s to pulling off something similar for christmas!

  10. Happy Thanksgiving, daisyfae. Glad it was sort of OK.

    This quote strikes to the heart of me when it comes to PsychoMother:

    “It was really nice not to get yelled at for a change!”

    • ahh… you have lived the dream. mom has been really happy, and feelin good for the past couple weeks, since all this started. FAR less bitchy. some combination of feeling ok, plus all of the attention she’s getting, and perhaps knowing for sure her days are numbered, may have adjusted her outlook a little! amazing…

  11. Hello from Finland — just came across your blog and love it ! As someone who doesn’t have a clan of family / relatives around me, I find it extremely enjoyable reading about the lives of those who do — and your writing is enthralling ! Will be checking in from now on for sure !

    P.S. suction cups on octopi — eeew !! One experiment was enough for me..I could feel them cups sucking on my tongue for days afterwards. Never again.

    • Hi Zella – welcome to “The Park”! this is the time of year i find myself longing to be an orphan, or a single child. but alas… can’t make that happen and avoid the law! agree that it’s the suction cups that are the ‘deal breaker’…. blechh

    • momma loves the “O.G.” too… and that’ll be one of the gift cards i get for her for christmas… i just can’t find anything healthy on the menu there. i sit in the parking lot and gain five pounds…

  12. When we go to the sushi place, where all the plates pass by us, I have to be careful as to what I take, I’m allergic to a LOT of seafood and it makes me dead. That makes for a short night and no amount of wasabi can take that sting away.

    • i conveniently left out the fact that i shed more than a few tears prior to the meal, while hanging out with my dead father at the cemetery up the street. he would have eaten the octopii, by the way. and probably done some disgusting things with it just to gross everyone else out… (sigh)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s