The Meat Tray

The informant told me about the meat tray, which is basically a platter of appetizers. At any family gathering, the informant’s grandma (on her mom’s side) will bring out the meat tray only at her house. The tray consists of cheese, crackers, some type of sausage, black olives, and mini pickles. Informant says she’s never been to an event for her mom’s side of the family that hasn’t had the tray. It’s something that has always existed to her. She told me that she knows it’s serious to the family and the get-togethers because one year, her grandma forgot to make it and everyone flipped out. Even family out of state know about this story and how important it is to the family and any family function. The informant looked nostalgic when she spoke about it. If something is missing from the meat tray, the family also freaks out about it and makes comments about how they can’t eat from it until it’s complete. The informant thinks it started when there started being more and more grandkids, when the grandma’s children started having kids. It’s her mom and her two sisters who both have kids. The grandma oversees the meat tray. It’s not a family function without it. The family are big eaters, so for the informant, it feels like family gatherings are centered around food – the beginning of the gathering is when the meat tray is brought out and that’s truly when the event starts. Informant also mentioned that extended family come to enjoy it too and that it’s on open door policy at her grandparents and a lot of friends can come too, even on big holidays. The meat tray signifies gathering and union. This is a place where you can eat and feel like you’re being taken care of as the informant explained. It’s also important to the family considering the passing of the grandpa very recently and the meat tray was still brought out at the funeral. I find this to be a beautiful way of being close to your family, it’s fun and good to eat which is always a plus.