So we came back from the BBQ. And Lado’s two other siblings, Nika (the twelve year old brother) and Nino (the four/ five year old sister) and grandmother were back from vacation. Nino is THE.CUTEST.THING.EVER. Her birthday was Thursday so we were going to celebrate tonight. A birthday supra! After all of the appropriate introductions I walked to the dining room, and the table was awash in food. There was not an empty spot. I’ve read and anticipated the Georgian supra, but here is my take on my first one, which of course has different context and spin from city to village to town.
We all seat down and began to eat. Food was placed in little saucer plates in replica on the table so everybody had access to the same thing. My deda, or host mother is an excellent cook. She had the assistance of a good friend/ neighbor the preceding two days. But she only cooks traditional Georgian food on special occasions. Tonight, she brought the rain! There was Khachapuri, and Satsivi and Pkhali and on and on. Neighbors kept filtering in as the night continued. The mama, or father is such a good guy. He tried all night, rather successfully to translate for me the proceedings of the evening. All the neighbors who came were close friends (godfather/ godmother level). Then the drinking began…
Now for those who know me, I can hold my own when it comes to drinking. But I have two hard rules if I want to keep the party going. 1. No Tequila shots- ever. 2. I cannot eat a lot and drink a lot at the same time. One or the other (most times both) will not stay with me long. Well, the Georgians do both at the same time in enormous quantities. I have a lot to learn. anyways, I made the appropriate adjustments to reach phase two of the Supra (feast).
The women slowly and stealthy moved into the living room while the men stayed at the dining room table. The father started by explaining to me the two different types of traditional Georgian drinking instruments. One resembled a bowl and the other was a cone shaped vessel that did not have a bottom to stand (so one had to drink all the contents). He also explained the historical context of each. He did not bring out the third Georgian drinking vessel, a horn. I guess that’s for later.
Then he made his first of countless toasts to various people. He started the toast to his parents. There is a systematic ritual to toasting and observing and actions that I still need to manage. Over the course of the next two hours, he toasted to his children (one specifically for Nino), Grandparents, Georgia, Peace, Virgin Mary, Me, Godparents, Women, etc. It was Great! All along he coaxed me to drink more and more. “Just a little more, just a little more…”
It was a beautiful thing.
Happy Birthday, Nino.
“Go, go, go, go, go, go
It’s your birthday
We gon’ party like it’s your birthday
We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday…”
In Da Club, 50 Cent