My Big Fat Middle Eastern Family…

…or a portion of it. 

We hosted family from across the Atlantic last week! 

Z’s brother, his wife, and 13 yo son visited us from France.  They arrived on Saturday, BIL left on Tuesday for meetings in Salt Lake City, and returned late Thursday.  They all returned to France on Saturday.  
We had fun!  Z took them to Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake on Sunday, we all went to the Ontario Science Centre to see the Sultans of Science exhibit on Monday (Z took the day off), on Tuesday I took them out to some factory outlets west of the city before taking BIL to the airport.  On Wednesday, I shuttled SIL and nephew to the subway so that they could visit the ROM and Eaton Centre.  Thursday, they hung with me and we did some errands on foot, and cooked together.  On Friday, BIL was back in town and they headed down to the CN tower and some sightseeing downtown.
Saturday morning, Z headed out to the Patisserie Royale and picked up some Cheese Knefeh for breakfast and we watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a story so applicable to our family situation (substitute Middle Eastern for Greek) that we were all roaring, even though Z and I have seen it before.
It was six straight days of cooking for a crowd, at least, a bigger group than normal.  It meant more planning and real meals every night, not just pasta, jarred sauce, and steamed veggies, my low-energy-day option.  It went something like this:
Saturday:  marinated flank steak with fixing for tacos, fruit crumble
Sunday:  buffet dinner for 14 with PW’s Chicken Spaghetti and lots of sides and finger foods.
Monday:  steelhead trout, mashed potatoes, asparagus, leftover ice cream cake
Tuesday:  rotini, tomato, and ground beef casserole, broccolli
Wednesday:  Chicken Enchiladas, salad
Thursday:  Pork tenderloin in a creamy/chutney/white wine sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans
Friday:  Dinner out!  Sushi and another ice cream cake at home.
The cooking was fine.  The most draining part of the week for me was that my SIL and nephew don’t speak very much English so I spoke French for a good part of the week, particularly when Z was at work and BIL was away.  I really enjoyed their company, but my brain was just fried at the end of each day!  I’m fine with simple stuff, but to have an intimate conversation with family members that you don’t see that often just stretched my abilities.  Plus they have something of an accent/speaking style (they are from Brittany) that I found a little difficult to follow at times, so I was constantly asking them to repeat themselves.
They saw Toronto on all it’s winter states.  When they arrived, there was very little snow and it was quite mild.  Later in the week, we got snow, it got colder, and they experienced a different side of our climate.   As they were leaving Saturday afternoon, the snow started in earnest and their flight was delayed for de-icing.  
We miss them all.  
Oh, and my SIL and nephew were very taken with our dog, Wilson, playing with him endlessly.   He’s been quite pooped since they left, but he had a great time!

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