The Story of Grandma and the Mustard

This entry is subtitled: Why I’m Freaking Out About Our Food at the Reception

Sorry it’s somewhat long and picture-less, but I think it’s a good story :)

Let me set the scene: It was the end of June this past summer and Mr. and I had just bought our first house. We decided that it would be fun and a good idea to have an open house for the 4th of July for our families. That way, no one could say, “You haven’t even invited us over to your new house yet!” or no one would just stop by unannounced (a HUGE fear of mine with his family), OR no one would just come over and snoop and peek in the windows (which they ended up doing anyway) because they were all invited to stop by and check it out. Nothing fancy, maybe we’d make some lemonade and have some chips and pretzels, but because we would have only been in the house a week and wouldn’t even have anything to sit on (seriously, we were sleeping on the floor) it wouldn’t be a full out party.

Well. I’ll bet you can figure out that’s not how it went down. This whole thing evolved into a huge barbecue for his family. Now, granted, my family is much much smaller than his, just my mom, aunt, uncle, and cousin who live close by (everyone else is at least 7 hours away), so it’s understandable that none of my family came (except for my mom after all of his family had cleared out…and a jumbo sized bottle of gin to help us recover from the afternoon). His parents did generously offer to bring all the food, but when I heard how much they were bringing I got a little nervous. 40 hamburgers and 40 hot dogs? THIS is when I realized that our little “open house” was much much more than that. At least with all the money we were spending on the house, we wouldn’t be out even more money to host the party. For which I was VERY grateful.

A little side note on the state of our house at this point…we had only been in it for a week so as I said before, we didn’t even have any chairs so of course I had no serving plates or anything to entertain with at all. We were too concerned with carpets ripped up and getting toilets that worked, ya know? Guests had brought over blocks of cheese and salami but I couldn’t even cut them because I didn’t have anything beyond our plastic knives to cut it with. No bowls to put chips and pretzels in either.

The party was to start at 1 PM. It was about 11:30AM and Mr. still did not have a grill for the party. At 12:45, his grandparents showed up, sat down and said “Where’s the food, I’m hungry.” (NO LIE!!) Well, Mr. and his brothers were still assembling the grill at this point so of course there was no food ready aside from like chips and pretzels.

The grill was ready to go by the time we had about 20 people at our house and shortly thereafter the first round of burgers and dogs were finally done. I thought Mr. did a beautiful job and we were going to be able to pull off our first picnic without a hitch! Oh but wait. (insert record scratch here) There was no mustard for the hot dogs. We had ketchup, but no mustard. We don’t eat mustard so we didn’t even think about getting it. No big deal, right? Hah. You would have thought that we had poisoned the food. In jumps Grandma. “How can I eat a hot dog without mustard???” And cue the mad scramble to get the woman mustard. She made sure to tell EVERYONE there how displeased she was by the situation. So much so that 3 people went out to buy her mustard. I mean…really? And she was the one to bring hot dogs to our house in the first place! Sigh. I was just glad the toilet worked, buying mustard wasn’t quite on the top of my shopping list.

This sparked me to ask Mr.’s cousin’s wife for some advice about food for the wedding. I think her family is a bit more like mine, and I was very much in need of some words of wisdom…which I got, along with a lovely story. She told me that their grandma and grandma’s sister disliked the food so much at Mr.’s other cousin’s reception that they LEFT and went to another reception.

Ok, I get it that it’s OUR wedding and we should choose what we want there, but it’s important to us that everyone enjoys it (and that no one leaves because they hate it). In general, my family has a much more worldly view of food and prefers things out of the ordinary, while in general his family is the complete opposite. Franks and kraut all the way. We want to do stations with lots of various appetizers before…lots of fresh foods, some with a Spanish flair, so I think we have room to have lots of variety.

Bottom line is, I’ll die if I see those buffet trays with chicken marsala and scalloped potatoes in a weird yellow color that looks like it’s a week old.

I know it’ll be impossible to make everyone happy, but how do I find a happy medium for our menu?