How many pizza?

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Before Sunday I have to decide how many pizzas to order for this year’s birthday party. Too many, not enough, too many again—what’s a mom to do? I get it wrong every year.

Before Sunday I have to decide how many pizzas to order for this year’s birthday party. Too many, not enough, too many again—what’s a mom to do? I get it wrong every year.

The date has been set and the invitations sent without the traditional RSVP at the bottom since no one—well, let’s say very few—reply to RSVPs these days, and those that do call the day before to say, “So sorry, we won’t be able to make it after all,” or “Our son’s game was cancelled. Would it be alright if we come?”

So who’s coming? Who knows? The usual “old faithful’s” will be there, except for the ones who’ve moved away. Half the people who called to say they were coming will come. Some of the people who said they couldn’t make it will show up. I plan on 30 or 40 people, just don’t know who. Hungry four piece eaters or dainty one-half piece nibblers?

The pizza.  Son Paul started this tradition in early August of a year long ago by inviting—unbeknownst to us—friends and family and just-met strangers to his birthday party. His birthday is at the end of September. One day in early September he announced he wanted to have pizza at his party.

“What party?” we asked. “My birthday party,” he said, as if “Duh…” “Where’s the party going to be?” we asked. “Here,” he answered. “Who’s coming?” we asked. He rattled off names both familiar and unfamiliar—lots of them—and that year we had a party. With lots of people. And pizza.

I don’t remember if I got it right that first year but you’d think at least I would’ve learned over the years. I haven’t. A few years ago, cleaning up after the party, I once again shoved almost everything out of the refrigerator to make room for four unopened boxes of pizza—in spite of my pleading to departing guests to “Please, please help yourself to a box of pizza, or a few slices at least…”

The next year I cut down to 10 pizzas. About the same number of people came—but they were different people and I had again ordered too much pizza. The year after that, determined to get it right and thinking we had enough salads, veggie trays, fruit and cookies to satisfy the hungriest, I ordered a lot fewer pizzas.

Those pizzas were demolished in the first hour. Empty boxes littered the table. Try as I might, there was not an unopened pizza box to be found so I sent one of my other sons out for more pizzas. Of course by the time he got back, everyone was chowing down on birthday cake and ice cream. The new pizzas sat abandoned on the table.

This year, going by my unreliable past experience, I figured we’d have about 30 people so I ordered 10 pizzas. Forty-three people showed up and—2 and one-half  pizzas left? How could that be?

Last year I had frozen individual pieces of the leftover pizzas but this year I didn’t want to wrap all those pieces individually so I stuffed the pizzas into the refrigerator and announced we’d be eating pizza every day until it was gone—hopefully before it got dry and stale.

That lasted two days. The third day I went to Taco Bell for Mexican treats. You can only eat so much pizza. We’re down to the last half-box today and I’m seriously thinking of serving something other than pizza next year.

But pizza’s so easy—if you know how much to order.

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