December 24th, 2001


The Big Feast


Tonight was The Big Feast at Brandybuck Manor =) We had about 30 people over including my parents and my brother, Bungo's two Uncles and their families and a whole bunch of relatives and friends.

Cora and I started cooking at about 1300h. I had the bright idea today of using the apple peeler to peel the potatoes. We have about 3-4 Brandybuck Big Feasts every year and each time, we stupidly peel potatoes manually with hand peelers. All this time, we've never thought of sticking the potatoes in the apple peeler. It worked fantastically. Ours isn't an electric one-button one, it has a handle that you crank, but we cranked out the potatoes on the triple =)

We managed to get dinner out in time despite both of us being more absent-minded than usual. We'd forget key ingredients or let something overcook and we were just clamouring to fix things the whole time. The guests started arriving and we were still cooking. Ack!

In a Chinese household, guests are supposed to be greeted with a cup of tea. It's not really a tradition or anything, but in a lot of families, the youngest female member of the family capable of handling boiling water is The Tea Manager. She's supposed to make and serve the tea to guests and make sure the guests never run out.

This responsibility, of course, falls on me. Every year, I resolved to start early on the tea preparations. Not a big production, but just to be sure there's enough filtered water to start boiling in the kettle so that there will be hot water when the tea is needed. We usually make two types of teas for large crowds, one non-caffeinated like Pu-Er with Chrysanthemum (for the people that are afraid of not being able to fall asleep at night) and one important-guest-ish one like Oolong or Jasmine or one of the other expensive ones.

Weel, me best laid schemes ha'gang agley. In the rush of fixing things and trying to continue making stuff, the water, the boiling and the tea was forgotten. Until the doorbell went off... then it's like, SSSSSSHHHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!! =P

Then boiled water became a scarce commodity... what, with us using boiling water for cooking so we wouldn't have to wait for stuff to boil on the stove. Then, because of that, the filtered cold water became a scarce commodity as well. *sigh*

Bungo's father brought over something made by the woman he's having an affair with. She does this every year. She makes a dish for one of our Big Feasts even though she's not invited. It's as if she's trying to prove something. It kicks up great resentment in the family. It makes Bungo's father bitter and angry (he doesn't seem to understand why everyone hates the fact that he's having an affair). It makes Bungo's Uncles' families upset that he doesn't get it. It stresses out Grandma and Grandpa that the family's not happy. And it also puts a lot of stress on the whole family that all of this is heavily suppressed because we have non-family guests who do and don't know to varying degrees about the affair.

I successfully removed it from public view this year. Score 1000 Diplomacy Points for Ruby! =D

I think that's why his father stormed off in the middle of the evening. But he can go eat shit for all I care.