SLICE OF LIFE

SLICE OF LIFE: Marital bliss and the meat hut

2012-10-28T00:00:00Z SLICE OF LIFE: Marital bliss and the meat hutBy Vanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

I've seen the chocolate dipping fountain, the photo booth stocked with silly hats and even an Elvis impersonator.

But last weekend was the first time I've seen a meat hut at a wedding.

Word of the meat hut leaked during the rehearsal dinner, the night before my cousin Chris married his love, Kasia, who is originally from Poland. I asked her mother how Polish and American weddings are different.

A few minutes into the conversation, she mentioned there would be a hut, stocked with lunch meat and sausage links. Guests would be given knives to slice off chunks of meat.

I was intrigued by the idea of this meat hut and told my immediate family. By the time the reception rolled around, the meat hut had garnered the type of anticipation you'd expect for Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. 

Would it really exist? Would it live up to the picture we created in our minds?

My Dad, perhaps after a nip of scotch, even changed the words to the song Love Shack, in honor of this yet-unseen structure. He danced around, singing, "Meat hut/baby/meat hut!"

We arrived at the reception. After a quick congrats and hello to the parents of the bride and groom, I looked around the room for the meat hut.

There it was, tucked in a corner to the left.

It resembled a popcorn stand or hot dog stand with a little roof. Sausages were draped from a rod. Platters of lunch meat covered the counter. There were bowls of cheese and slices of bread.

The meat hut was a do-it-yourself deli, right there at a wedding reception. Dad said it was the best ham he'd ever eaten. And the lunch meat I ate, although I'm not sure what it was, it was delicious.

It set the tone for a great night of dancing, laughing and drinking, fueled by bottles of vodka at each table and a rousing rendition of the celebratory Polish song, "Sto Lat!"

The best man, my cousin Kevin, gave a speech that made us laugh. And the father of the groom, my godfather Uncle Larry, gave a speech that made us cry.

In the end, after the music stopped and the meat hut was carted away, we were left with a new branch on our family tree: Chris and Kasia Patrick.

Vanessa Renderman covers health care for The Times. You can reach her at vanessa.renderman@nwi.com.

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