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The World's Finest Soupfest at the White House

Red Soup

The Occasionally Annual White House Soupfest, Domino Marathon and Bragging Contest made its biggest showing in decades on Saturday. We had folks from far and wide stop by, set a spell and eat. Man, did we eat! Then, when we couldn’t force any more calories down the pipe we broke out the dominoes and worked off all the extra energy (and not a few frustrations) beating up on each other in parallel and continuing sets of Mexican Train. Said games barely slowed down for refills later in the evening.

In short, it was wonderful.

This was the first time we’d had all the extended family together in years. We couldn’t decide if the last time was Mom’s 75th birthday celebration, or even further back. Maybe more than a decade back! All the kids, all the spouses, and all the granddaughters and great-granddaughters (all 13 of them), and the cousin we raised as a brother (and his family). Only Uncle Don was too ill to travel, and at nearly ninety he can be excused that. There were friends and clan-in-laws too, and even a token fiancée or two. All in all, thirty-five showed up for the meal at noon.

Believe me, this horde, whether you call it a clan, sept or overrunning swarm, can pack away the groceries! There was Pozole, chili, Chicken Cheese Chowder and Sopa Xochitl, none of them present in less than two-gallon pots. The chili did double duty, as you could have some over fresh, homemade tamales, or you could enjoy yours straight up. The sidebar buffet of sides, nearly ten feet of them, included salads and bread, veggies, Frog Eye Salad and assorted pickles and garnishes. And of course, there were pies, cookies and banana bread for dessert. We restrained ourselves during the main courses, naturally. (If you believe that, we need to talk about some nice real estate.) We wanted to leave room for dessert; who wouldn’t? I made the mistake of eating thirds on the soups, so I could only squeeze in a piece of pumpkin pie, some of the banana bread and a bit more Frog Eyes, so I missed out on the gooseberry pie. It wouldn’t have mattered much anyways, I was in the middle of the line behind Chip’s kids, and there wasn’t any real hope the gooseberry would survive long enough for me to get a slice. (I did get in a good lick or six on the pie plate, though. Yum, Gooseberry!) And yes, I did restrain myself; I left the Cool Whip off of my cookies.

The afternoon was pleasant and mostly sunny, so we grabbed the opportunity to take family pictures out in the yard. You never know when the whole clan will meet in full feasting session again! I’d share a couple with you, but apparently they’re a secret; my photographer spouse didn’t deign to share with me. (I’m not bitter or anything, really. No, really. I hardly think about it at all anymore.)

As the night deepened the Fest began to break up, slowly, as various family groupings made their excuses goodbyes and took off to the far corners of Texas. (You didn’t think they’d leave God’s Country, did you?) Everybody agreed that a good time was had by all, and that yours truly, the Chile Doctor, was the best damned domino player they’d ever seen. (Well, I agreed with that last part, anyways.) We took solemn vows to never do this again for a week or two, and that we’ll all see each other again in a year. It’s a difficult pledge, offering to sacrifice our time and health to eat like starving pigs in an overstocked feedlot and socialize, but we we made the promises. If the stars all align properly again, we’ll be back at the White House next year for another round…

Enjoy the (Soup and Sides) Heat!

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