It's possible I'm uninvited to the Christmas family dinner this year -- having just made the terrible confession to my Mom that I ran out of food at an office social gathering this week. The worst part was, she didn't even really say anything... only a small but audible gasp seeped through the line, along with her disappointment. I explained that more people showed up than had RSVPd, and then stayed a few hours longer than anyone expected. (She was having none of my excuses. If she invited a family of four for dinner and they happened to bring along a soccer team, she would be prepared. My stepdad would simply be dispatched to the garage to, oh... I don't know... quietly butcher one of the deer that's always grazing in their garden, and within minutes, Bambi would be bbq-ing on the grill with the guests none the wiser.)
ChefBabyBrother brother was far more vocal. I had barely finished explaining the circumstances when he interrupted with, "But ... you are Southern..." followed by a heavy sigh, and a tone of resignation as he added, "welllll, you might as well move to New Jersey and start shopping the Safeway for a shrimp ring. Maybe they have a stale Entenmann's pound cake that would tide your company over?" He strongly implied but did not say outright that I had brought shame on our family.
He is spending this Christmas in Istanbul, so this year's holiday meal is going to be a lot different than last year's. For one thing, I have a strong suspicion "dinner" will be on the table about 3. And that we'll still be serving bourbon ball appetizers.