Meet our writers

Win $1,000







Humor November 2017

Feeding Frenzy

By Dick Wolfsie

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 for a holiday dinner.

How much food are you supposed to bring to a potluck or a Thanksgiving get-together?

The calculus of this must have stumped even Albert Einstein who came from a nice Jewish family where food, of course, 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 for a holiday dinner. Then Einstein’s mother just squared everything, which has since become a holiday tradition. And is why most people gain 11 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Einstein has gotten a lot of credit for his theories on atomic energy, but very little recognition has been given to Mother Einstein’s classic formula for how much potato salad to lug to the family reunion picnic.

This past Thanksgiving we were invited to my friends Bob and Cathy Haverstick’s home. My wife insisted on bringing something so she could contribute to the sumptuous feast. “Bringing something” was always a risky thing when I grew up in New York. Whenever my mother brought something to someone’s house, she would watch it like a hawk, concerned that her candied yams would go unacknowledged, thus requiring her to either chuck the remains at the end of the party or hide the half-filled casserole dish behind her back as she nervously slid out the door.

And there was a worse scenario. Suppose the dish was completely consumed. Not a scrap left. Wiped clean. That would have meant that my mother did not bring enough. She believed this miscalculation would stain the reputation of the entire Wolfsie clan. That’s when my mother adopted Mama Einstein’s theory of quantum food.

This made a huge impression on me as a kid. So when my wife offered to contribute her sour cream mashed potatoes to the Haverstick party, I tried to look at the decision about how much to bring in a scientific manner. Bob and Cathy were having 25 people for dinner, so we needed to make enough mashed potatoes for 50 people because if the spuds were that good, everyone was going to have seconds. But other people would also be bringing dishes. And these people, no doubt, were also familiar with this culinary formula. This meant that if all 25 people were bringing enough food for 50 people, there would be enough food on the Haverstick table that night to feed about 5,000 people.

That would be plenty…even though Uncle Harold is a really big eater.

Dinner was quite wonderful but getting all that food in the Haversticks’ dining room was a problem. Guests were asked to leave their coats in the car so Bob and Cathy’s king-size bed could be used as a buffet table for the 475 fluffy dinner rolls, 28 pounds of oyster stuffing, and 16 bowls of cranberry relish.

Sadly, at the end of the evening, many people felt the sting my mother used to experience when her string bean soufflé had been barely touched. As for Mary Ellen’s sour cream mashed potatoes, I ate 12 portions. I don’t like sour cream mashed potatoes, but the idea of my lovely wife coming home on Thanksgiving night clinging to the remains of an unappreciated casserole would have been too much for either of us to bear.

 

Dick Wolfsie welcomes your feedback at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meet Dick