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Family Tree Feast

July 26, 2010

It was hot. You cried, but it poured. That will be how we describe the day Serafina was baptized.

The day started out one of the hottest in Washington, at 105 degrees, and who knows what the heat index pushed that too. We held her baptism at Georgetown, in the same chapel where my parents were married, I was baptized, and AAM and I were married– and with the same priest. Unlike our wedding, we decided to make this an intimate affair, and limited the ceremony to our parents, siblings, and their children. It seems this was a good decision, as the star did not want to go on. Serafina, a normally calm and quiet baby showed a few early signs that she might be a screamer at the ceremony. She spat up her lunch, which she has only done on two other occasions in her 4 short months with us, and she didn’t fall asleep for her afternoon nap. By the time the family gathered in the chapel, she was in full freak-out mode. A single look from her Aunts, Uncles, or cousins would set her into a spiraling episode of wailing. We tried to calm her the best we could, and moved on with the ceremony. Ironically, the moment she was at most peace, was the one we were very worried about, the actual baptism. When the water poured on her head, she looked up at her daddy smiling. Post-baptism, she took a seriously solid nap. We headed home for the after party at our small abode. By the time the party started, the heavens opened and a huge storm erupted soaking most of the family. However, Serafina was unfazed by the weather. Her cousins even crept into her nursery to look at her, and she slept soundly, despite the 4 and 7 year-olds version of tip-toeing.

I meant to take pictures of the spread, but well with everything monumental, I became overwhelmed in the moment and I forgot the details. Using the theme of Serafina’s family tree, we served food and beer in honor of her various roots. We had Scottish Smoked Salmon and Watercress Salad, Italian Tomato Basil and Mozzerella Salad, Irish Sodabread and Rosemary Garlic lamb with Mint Jelly, and American Grilled Cheese.  We served various beers including: Harp, Gaelic Ale, Peroni, Samuel Adams, and Molson, honoring the homelands of Serafina’s various Great-Grandparents.

Do you see how I did that? I slipped in a non-pescetarian item, hoping your eyes would float right on by that one horribly offensive dish. Go back, yep, we served lamb. When I went for the Irish ingredient, it was hard. My dad’s mother, Margaret Laing Salmon, felt very strongly about her lamb and lobster. A woman who emmigrated on her own as a teenager from Western Ireland, the two foods must have represented a combination of new and old. To this day, those foods are served to honor her at any family occasion. Lobster seemed a bit extravagent, not to mention difficult, to prepare for such a big crowd, so we went with her other favorite, lamb (And for those who eat meat, we made a rub of lemon juice, garlic, kosher salt, and chopped fresh rosemary, then cooked it for a half hour at 400, then an hour at 350). As a caddy in Worcester, my dad grew up on lamb and mint jelly sandwiches. When he was a young married man living in D.C, my Nana would arrive off the plane, with a lamb roast in her luggage. My mother tried to explain that we can buy lamb in D.C, but it didn’t seem to matter to Nana. Unfortunately, after her second stroke, she passed away when I was fourteen, and I struggle to cling to memories, especially pre-stroke memories. For me, food tends to be the path to memory, so I tossed out my moral highground, and served lamb. If it helps, I didn’t eat any.

The next few posts will be the pescetarian recipes we served.

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