Over the weekend, I reunited with my family. Aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews, all rejoicing that we could be together again.

Whenever my family gets together, no matter the circumstance, food is always involved. But for the first time in my life, I didn’t have the option of eating appetizers and was forced to wait a couple of hours to indulge in the feast that awaited in the kitchen. That’s when I realized, parties aren’t as festive without appetizers.

My aunt asked for my fiancé and I to arrive around 1 p.m. – prime lunchtime, in my opinion. We came with empty stomachs, ready to attack the antipasti, chips, and dips that were usually waiting on the tables around the house. But there wasn’t a platter in sight. Two hours went by before the grill was turned on and the chafer stands were set up. The growling of my stomach could be heard across the lawn as my fiancé and I played catch with my cousins.

Someone dropped the ball here. There are always appetizers and finger foods to satiate the family before the big meal. If anything, I think my family is going through a shift of responsibilities. My cousins and I are no longer children, and maybe we are expected to bring a dish. Maybe it’s my fault for assuming that my aunts would always provide for the family.

After this weekend, I will never attend a party empty-handed, for the sake of the guests and my stomach. Appetizers need to be considered an essential piece of the party because without appetizers, you have hangry guests, and when you have hangry guests, family feuds are inevitable.

Keep your guests happy. Serve chips and dip.

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