(Family Reunion // Homemade Serbian food/drink)
Obviously, Not that big of a surprise to have a drunkfest on Labor Day weekend, is it?
This is kind of the big event of the year for our family though. People come from all over the country to enjoy good food, good drink, and good company.
I'm really not too big on the holidays in general, but this is something much bigger than the holidays to me. There are 100+ people here every year coming all the way from NE Washington to the coast in Florida.
I am rather averse to crowds in general, but it's nice to see everyone at one giant function. Makes it easy for people who are out of state to know when to visit so that /they/ can see everyone too.
I'd definitely recommend this sort of function to anyone who has a spread out family, like I do. Sometimes tempers flare and people become a bit unruly, but those people get subsequently uninvited here. If you can't behave -- you don't get to enjoy it.
Early in the weekend... Things are quiet still :)
I can't even capture all the cars on the lawn anymore!
It seems to have mellowed out over the years (I guess people tend to get older and grow into a more balanced temperament), but they still have the good old Alcohol table where everyone gets their drunk on.
Anyways, we do it with a plan and we have events, which is partially how the whole thing is funded. Unless someone in your family is able to support such a thing by their own sponsorship, it'd probably be a bit difficult to have a space where you could throw together everyone in your extended family and beyond.
Every year has a theme (IE. 1940's, rock n roll, medieval, etc) and we'll have a "show" where anyone can prepare a skit to perform (generally humorous and musical in nature) along the lines of the theme.
The Stage is set!
The Dancening is on now!!
Before the show we'll highlight the tradition and people responsible for making the event into a reality; immediately following the show we'll have an auction of miscellaneous goods that the host has acquired through various means (which I'm not going to go into too much, but just saying that none of em are illegal or immoral in any way. It's more like... through donation or happenstance)
After that all happens we've got food time.
And food time is one of the main reasons why I'm telling you about this.
I happen to really love and appreciate food/drink from different cultures, and I kind of feel like that all started with me going to Serbian labor day.
Generally whenever anyone arrives there, it's tradition for them to take a shot of the drink of choice for our family. This stuff is called Kruškovac, which is a type of pear liqueur. Generally it is home made or a facsimile is mixed together here (made as strong as possible, of course).
Throughout the weekend we do a variety of foods and traditions which I could talk about at significant length probably, but I'd just like to highlight my favorite for now.
This is Sarma
To the left is what we call Sarma (hard "R" said approximately "sardumah"). They are the Serbian version of stuffed cabbage, which are pretty prevalent in many places in Europe. I prefer them to the Polish variety, but I generally enjoy both. Maybe it's because they're home made, or maybe it's because I've experienced these first. They generally have a bit of a pickled cabbage flavor, along with beef/lamb mix and a healthy mix of seasonings.
They tend to have them pre-prepped before the weekend and then they sit in the slow cooker on the day that they are going to be served for the majority of the day. I guess due to the preparation and slow cooking of them, they end up absolutely fall apart tender. Absolutely delicious and pretty unique tasting to me.
Got Uncle Vito runnin 3 smokers all weekend -- making all the fall off the bone meats
I mean, I'm not a glutton by any means, but perhaps I half show up because the food is awesome...
;) JK - I love my family.
Anyways, there's a ton more that I could say about it, but I guess you probably don't need a damn book here.
Long story short: Try Sarma & Kruškovac if you get the chance, along with any other cultural foods you get the option to experience (as long as it doesn't seem like something that will make you sick). And remember to make time for your family. I think a big huge reunion event like this is a perfect one-shot way to see everybody, even when there are great distances between you. It's something I feel is kind of lacking in the other parts of my family and I kind of wish we had something like that.
It's nice to see everyone for a holiday or something, but it tends to be more like oh I see soandso occasionally at thanksgiving because they're coming into town this year. But how often does soandso see the other soandso's that aren't back home?
Give em a meeting place ;)
Anyways -- as always -- I've rambled long enough.
Huge thanks to anyone who read this far
PS. For all you Arachnophobes out there, I caught a pic of this beautiful dude hiding out in a corner this weekend. They got tons of interesting critters out here.
It's Spiderman! -- oh wait no, that's just a spider...
Bad joke, whatever. 🤣