Saturday, June 12, 2021

Plan a simple brunch — the cosmos may have other plans

| May 16, 2021 12:00 AM

Earlier this spring I had the opportunity to meet for the first time the parents of my son’s girlfriend. It’s a ritual most parents eventually will find themselves in and is typically, and should be, a joyous occasion … or I guess could be fraught with danger, depending on circumstances. In our case, things went great, even if my husband and son were unable to be there — so I winged it on my own.

I’d invited them for Sunday brunch before they drove home after a weekend visit with their daughter. I’d planned a simple menu, including a make-ahead gluten- and dairy-free breakfast casserole, a recipe I’d found on the internet. I was flying by the seat of my pants on that, something not recommended when serving guests, but it turned out fine.

Twenty minutes before they were to arrive, I turned my coffeemaker to brew a full, fresh 12 cups since I knew they were coffee lovers.

There’s that inevitable moment when new guests arrive when you fling open the door and there you are, face to face. I believe it’s one of the most beautiful moments in life — meeting someone for the first time. How magically and mysteriously must our mind parse the nuances of what may well become new, even lifetime friends?

After introductions, we headed into the kitchen where I learned my dependable, “fahgetaboudit” coffeepot had barely brewed four cups of coffee; the rest of the water remained in the reservoir. It was a “Holy Cannoli” moment for me.

Fortuitously, I’d been chatting with a dear friend just the night before regarding my brunch menu and she happened to mention mimosas. (How beautifully the cosmos works!) I hadn’t thought of it. How celebratory! Serendipitously, I happened to have a bottle of Asti Spumante downstairs, which I’d thrown in the fridge overnight. Orange juice was already chilling.

As I explained my embarrassing predicament to my coffee-connoisseur guests, I whipped that Asti out and said, “But does anyone like mimosas?”

Laughter pealed. I grabbed the flutes from the china cabinet. Glasses were raised, toasts made and brunch, sans coffee, was rescued. There was never a dull moment and plenty of stories to build bridges and connections.

After two unsuccessful clean cycles with white vinegar, the old girl wound up at the landfill, and I bought a new programmable coffeepot directly afterward.

Perhaps of note, I happen to be cursed with poor name recall. It’s one of my many flaws and I try not to take myself too seriously. For instance, several years ago, when I first met our daughter’s boyfriend, soon to be spouse, I called him once by his father’s name, whom I’d hadn’t even met yet, but because I’d rehearsed his family tree ahead of our introduction.

I’m pretty sure at one point in our casual, champagne-friendly conversation I used the wrong first name for my son’s girlfriend’s father.

Unfortunate, yes. Embarrassing, always … but tragic? Not really.

Priceless moments like these live forever as time goes by.

Community Editor Carol Marino can be reached at