The Wolfsies have accepted two invitations to dinner on Thanksgiving. The Haversticks always invite my wife and son and me to join them at a lovely buffet at a downtown hotel. Since Mary Ellen and I have siblings who live out of town, we appreciate this gesture. I come from a pretty good-size family in New York, but we’re not talking to each other because of a contentious Thanksgiving about 25 years ago. For you ornithology buffs, please note: I have seen a turkey fly.
Our friends the Goslings have invited us to their house later in the afternoon. The Wolfsies offered to bring something to share at the Gosling dinner pitch-in. But what we contribute (and how much) might depend on the noon smorgasbord downtown — and whether the restaurant has those big Styrofoam to-go boxes.
If Mary Ellen decides to cook, how much are we supposed to bring? Calculating that would stump even Albert Einstein, who came from a nice Jewish family where food obviously played a very important role. Some biographers think the equation E=mc2 really meant the amount of food you can Eat (that would be E) is equal to the size of the average Mouth (that’s M) times the number of cousins (C) who were invited. Then Einstein’s mother just squared everything to ensure there would be leftovers.
Mary Ellen will watch her prepared food like a hawk, concerned it may go unappreciated, thus requiring her to slither out the door with a still-full casserole. But there is an even worse scenario: suppose her dish is completely consumed. Not a scrap left. That would mean she didn’t bring enough. This miscalculation would stain the reputation of the entire Wolfsie clan.
So here’s how we figure it. Dan and Noelle Gosling are having 20 people for dinner, so we need to make enough mashed potatoes for 40 people, because if the spuds are delish, everyone will have seconds. But other people are also bringing dishes. So if all 20 people bring enough food for 40 servings, there will be enough fare on the table that night to feed about 800 people. That should be plenty. Wait, their son Anthony is a six-foot-four teenager.
I sure hope there’s enough.