Confidential to Mystery Man: If I’ve put on weight, this explains why…

…inevitably, it was the home cooking, not the restaurants!

So the weekend was jam-packed with excitement, driving up to Rhode Island for Lillville Friday morning, back to NJ for Tracy’s grad party Saturday, and massive food consumption in between. (Just how much massive? ) Between fending off a discontented herd of cows, listening to Aunt Gay’s stories about my second cousin the lady wrestler, and Dad’s hopeful rumors that I will trade in finance for stunt driving, we munched on See’s Candies, the crunchy-sweet-salty-sticky California brittle, brought by Gay and Marty, the West Coast branch of the family.

Cousins bonding over chocolate. Awww.

Ham-bacon-mayo sandwiches, pizza, fresh mojitos, and the next morning, bismarcks (I opted for a piece of old fashioned donut instead, eliciting an outcry from Uncle Brett: “We’re cutting them into quarters now? What is this?!”), then out the door at 9am, as Aunt Cheryl put 10 pounds of shrimp on the stove for some chowdah.

Decadence follows me, even on the road!

Still wearing the official Lillville uniform, a tee shirt emblazoned with “Cheers, Big Ears!” and Big John’s handsome mug on the back, I headed to my favorite antiques shop in Nyack to pick up Tracy’s grad gift, a cranberry glass decanter with matching glasses.

Cheers Big Ears!

Then off to her party—and if Tracy’s family parties are known for one thing, it’s inducing serious food coma. All the usual favorites- a spread of bruschetta, eggplant bruschetta, and artichoke dip with crostini, pepperoni and broccoli rabe pinwheels to start, followed by sausage and pepper sandwiches, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, mind-blowing eggplant rolatini and broccoli rabe, ziti, and box cookies, cannoli, and cake for dessert.

Five minutes into the party...

And several hours later. Beware, Dani will try to seduce you if the cookies fail to do the trick.

And everything is even better than home-cooked, I felt genuinely guilty for not being able to eat more. So naturally that was the part of the evening to whip out our matching Penn State bikinis and jump in the pool. (What were you thinking? Digest? That’s silly.) By the time we had dried off, our guy friends had gotten back from the Red Bull game and we were ready for Round Two: Proof that when it seems like things are drawing to a close, it’s really just the beginning.


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