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Family Recipe

Last weekend I made my first apple pie. Making it was, well, a piece of cake. But that had more to do with my cousin Todd who supervised the Apple Pie-A-Thon in his kitchen, than about my skills as a baker.

When you’re organized and have all the ingredients and kitchen tools at the ready, making an apple pie (or anything else for that matter) is pretty simple. In one afternoon, Todd oversaw the making of 33 pies. (After I made mine, I was more useful washing dishes and organizing kitchen cabinets).

The Pie-A-Thon was part of my cousin Jenny and her husband Todd’s annual Columbus Day/Apple Picking/Pie Making weekend. They invite 40 family and friends to their upstate New York home. Sleeping bags, air mattresses and sweatshirts adorn every corner of their homey abode. The kitchen is in continual use. Kids run around nonstop, while adults chat as new faces arrive hourly. The days are interspersed with hiking, biking, campfires and eating. It’s constant fun.

But it’s endless work, though you’d never know it.

As seamless as the weekend appeared, there was plenty of preparation that went into it. One section of their 3-car garage resembled a mini Costco as it was filled with industrial sized bags of sugar and flour (for the pies), paper goods, bagels, peanut butter, drinks, snacks and more. Much more. It’s obvious Jenny and I are cut from the same cloth, though she may be a step or two above me.

Planning and hosting this event requires plenty of lists. Foods to buy, folks who are coming, and things to do. However, that’s only part of it. The part that makes your guests feel like they just had the most magical 3-days of their lives does not come from a To Do list or is found in any How To Plan a Party manual. That skill comes from within, from the love you feel for those around you. Come to think of it, that’s also the secret ingredient for any successful recipe. Oh how delicious it is.

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