Over the years, our various homes have hosted many Markelparties. We’ve had memorable gatherings in every home we’ve lived in, (at least they were memorable to me!), with varying numbers of guests. I can remember thinking that having five or six guests over was a lot, back when we were in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. But the party we had here last night was truly epic, as we were hosting 18 of Ryan’s co-workers from the Automattic Happiness Team.
I have never prepared so much food for any one event in my life–not even holidays. I actually had to draw myself a diagram of our kitchen counters so I could make sure everything would fit, (of course the diagram and the final arrangement have very little in common)!
The main event was the shredded meat–beef brisket and Dr. Pepper-Chipotle Pork (both recipes courtesy of the Pioneer Woman). Turkey lost a tooth during dinner, courtesy of his brisket sandwich–I don’t think anyone else suffered that fate, though!
We also had a variety of BBQ sauces for people to sample at their discretion, our focus being on “local” flavors from St. Louis and Kansas City.
There were the standard side dishes–baked beans and potato salad, (neither homemade–I’m not Super Woman!), as well as Jalapeño-Cilantro Slaw, for the sandwiches, or just to be enjoyed on its own. I wasn’t impressed with the corn at the grocery store on Sunday, so that got nixed. Oh, and we had the ubiquitous pickles, too.
We had a small salad bar, too, (with another local flavor–salad dressing from The Hill)–it really didn’t get very much attention. Then again, who wants salad when there’s all that delicious shredded beef and pulled pork?
Plenty of snacks–Buffalo Chex mix, potato chips, and a huge veggie tray, with two different dips. The dip I made from scratch was much more popular than the store-provided stuff, even though it didn’t look as cool–the store put their dip in hollowed out bell peppers!
Let’s not forget the drinks–in addition to the iced tea, lemonade, Dr. Pepper, wine, (from Missouri and Illinois), and mixed drink ingredients on the counter, we also had a cooler full of soda and various types of Schlafly beer–another local offering.
And desserts! I made two different kinds of blondies–dried cranberry-chocolate chunk and butterscotch-caramel. These were definitely popular, which is a good thing, because they’re my signature baked good!
After dinner, there was Rock Band. Lots and lots of Rock Band. People rotated in on the various instruments–guitar, bass, drums–even vocals, which is the one thing that is often ignored around here. I don’t think anyone ever played keyboards, though. The fog machine and light kit even made an appearance, although with so many people in the house, the fog didn’t last long!
This was by far the most diverse group of people we’ve ever had in our home. Not only did we have people from all over the country in attendance, but there were literally people from all over the world as well. It was delightful hearing so many charming accents in our home, and a great opportunity for the children to learn first hand what people from different places sound like when they speak. For one evening, anyway, I felt rather cosmopolitan!
In the words of Nathan Fillion as Mal Reynolds on Firefly, it was a “Mighty fine shindig!”