Monday, July 31, 2006

The Antidote to Hamburgers: Octopus

We got home from Vermont totally exhausted -- and, after our carnivorous weekend, unable to eat any more meat, at least for like a day or so. It was funny, because my mom loaded us down with sausages and burgers and dogs, any one of which would have made a quick dinner, but there was just no way. So we called the Japanese restaurant and picked up some light stuff, including octopus sunomono, which was just what the doctor ordered. I mean, I wish I'd had a few of Those Things to mop up the dressing, but...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Party's Over

My sister was staging a protest: That's it, I'm done.

I don't blame her. She worked hard, harder than any person in his or her right mind should ever have to. The party was over, and the crowd was down to my parents, Margy, and me. My sis agreed to grill the leftover burgers and dogs for tonight's dinner -- after doing everything your way this weekend, I told her, I'm not about to risk overcooking your hamburger. But s'mores were where she drew the line. Alas, you're not looking at a treat crafted by the sure hands of a trained pastry chef but rather at one clumsily assembled by her non-s'more-seasoned brother. Still, it went down nice and was a good cap to a few days of eating and drinking and generally making merry.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's Not a Party Without Pork

Last night, for dinner #1 of our Vermont family bash, we had hot dogs and hamburgers, with potato salad, spaghetti salad with brie and tomatoes, Those Things, and a bunch of other goodies. My sister ran the show, ran being the operative term -- she never stopped moving. She'd dart into the house for some stuff, then scurry back out to the grill, then cruise over to the buffet, then...

When she was asked to stop cooking the burgers and dogs that she had so efficiently set up on two grills, because the throng was still grazing on appetizers, she nearly lost it.

And sadly, we had to eat inside, because the weather was not cooperating and some late showers foiled the plan for al fresco dining.

But despite all that, dinner was lovely. For dessert, sis made a fruit crisp that harnessed her considerable pastry-chef skills and had everyone oohing and aahing. Adirondack bear paw ice cream didn't hurt. On the "dessert of the people" end of the spectrum, she gamely stood by the grill for a few more sizzling minutes to lead the kids among us in a round of s'mores. She can do it all, that one.

Tonight we had a few more people for dinner (around 30, up from around 22 last night), but the atmosphere was more relaxed and we were able to eat outside. Two primo eight-pound pork tenderloins were eased into the oven along with a big dish of my mom's famous sausage stuffing and a tray of roasted vegetables brought by my dad's cousin. When everything was ready, the pork was sliced and a buffet was set up, and we dug in. The pork was amazing -- tender, juicy, full of flavor -- but the stuffing was the first thing to vanish.

With all the great food that was flying around, it's hard to say what was my favorite (hint: Those Things), but I must say that some of the most memorable items of the weekend were the utensils my mom found at Costco. See that silverware? It's plastic!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Those Things

In my family food lore, Those Things have attained legendary status.

Truly, any item whose main components are dough and anchovies will achieve legendary status among us, since those are pretty much our favorite foods, in order. Add paprika and crushed red pepper, as one does when making Those Things, and how could a person not become hooked? (There is also a cheese version, but we purists don't count that one. And I must admit that as a kid I would only eat the plain no-anchovy variety, but you know -- I was a kid.)

So yes, that is their name: Those Things. I have early memories of being at my grandmother's house in New Haven and thinking, Is that really what they're called?

But let's back up. It is believed that my grandmother and/or her brother invented Those Things way back when, in a fit of kitchen inspiration. Store-bought pizza dough was stretched out into a rectangle, anchovies were dumped on top along with red pepper and paprika, the dough was rolled and sliced and baked, and -- ecco! -- Those Things were born, destined for glory.

The name probably developed something like this. (Note: Anchovies are known as alici to many Italians; there's another word as well, but we won't bother with that. The Neapolitan dialect version of alici sounds like "alleezge.") Someone in or around my grandma's house went, "Hey, are there any more of those allezge things?" And it stuck.

My Aunt Grace, who made Those Things pictured here, has been the official carrier of the torch since my grandmother departed. She gets extra points for torturing me. As she walked in the door of my folks' Vermont place for our reunion, hauling several bags of what was clearly food, I pounced: "Did you make Those Things, Aunt Grace?" I'd told myself to play it cool over and over, but as soon as I saw her the words just came out.

She said, "Oh! I was cooking for hours and making the crab dip and there was so much stuff and I was so hot and I just didn't have time. Are you mad?"

"You're damn right I'm mad," I almost said. She knew where I stood; I needed Those Things. I'd begged her for them the last two times I'd seen her. "No, Aunt Grace, I understand," I managed to say, thank goodness.

And then I looked on the counter, and there they were.

They'd been made the day before and were developing that special jaw-tiring chewiness that marks day-old Those Things. And Grace hadn't held back with the anchovies or the pepper, bless her heart. We all pretty much just stood around the tray until they were gone, and I think even my aunt was surprised by how nobody could really think about or talk about anything else. We all laughed at her when she suggested giving them a "real" name: anchovy roll-ups. "They already have a name!" was the unison chant.

Postscript: My cousin Matt arrived too late, and I felt the guilt trip bad. I should have saved him a couple. Or one. Oh, who am I kidding. Come early for Those Things or you're sure to miss out.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'll Eat Any Pizza Once

My family and I are pizza snobs -- we've been through that. Despite my being a pizza snob, I can pretty much enjoy a less-than-wonderful slice, even as I list to myself (or to those around me) the reasons why it's no good. We've been through that too.

It's all just by way of saying that if someone tells me to try a certain pizza, I'll definitely do it. And tonight that someone was the person I trust the most: my mother. She said that she and my dad had actually found a decent pizza near their new pad and that I should check the place out.

My mom gave me a bum steer.

Well, not really. She didn't say the pizza was amazing; she said it was acceptable. But see, that's about the highest praise she and my father can muster for anything not made in:

* Mom's kitchen
* New Haven
* Italy
* France

France? What can I say -- a pie they had someplace in Provence is still being talked about.

So I guess my expectations were built up too high by the sheer nature of my stickler parents endorsing the joint. It's happened before. It's not like we didn't eat the pizza. Margy and I scarfed it down before we headed up to Vermont for a much-anticipated family reunion. The pie was, yes, acceptable. I should have asked them to make it well done, but I usually let a pizzeria do things its way the first time before I tell the guy I actually like some color on the crust.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Need. More. Bacon.

I guess my bacon craving wasn't satisfied by last night's lentil soup, because out came the smoked pork once again.

This barely saucy sauce was almost like an amatriciana, without the tomato -- just bacon, summer onions (with sliced green tops as a garnish), garlic, a chili, and some olive oil. Lots of Parmesan on top, and badaboom: an easy summer dinner.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good Ol' Lentils

Lentils are divine all by themselves, but still, don't forget the bacon!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Margy Cooks! Beans and Greens

Margy's not an Italian, but she plays one in the kitchen.

It's true -- she's our resident pizzaiola, after all. And tonight, while I returned home from my periodic office stint, she prepared one of our household staples, the grilled sausage sampler. That's two Italian sausages and two bratwurst, which make a good combo when put together. But the side dish is what nudged the meal toward Italy, and Margy whipped it up like an old pro.

Naturally, that means she used plenty of garlic in her spinach and white beans. A good pinch of red pepper too. My mother, maker of countless versions of beans and greens, will be very proud of her favorite daughter-in-law.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Poussin Passion

Those tiny birds really know how to rope me in.

And it's not just because I fantasize constantly about roasting Margy's evil parrot over hot coals -- no, no. That's just a fantasy. I'm sure the little guy would taste terrible. Not to mention he'd be about four bites.

I guess, with the soft shell crabs and all, I just like eating entire creatures. Anyway, small young chickens are often delectable, and tonight's came from our farmers' market. I gave them a little spice massage and cooked them on the grill over indirect heat, with a bunch of fingerling potatoes sitting by their side. Then I sat them on a bed of summer onions that I sautéed along with a few chilies.

Margy and I enjoyed our summer barbecue while her parrot friend eyed us suspiciously.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Bittersweet Moment

The end of soft shell crab season depresses me, yet I try not to let my darkening mood interfere with one last thrilling fling.

With sea creatures already on my mind, I skipped ShopRite and drove to the not-all-that-nearby fish store first thing this morning. I think that deep down I knew what I'd be buying, but I faked myself out and went through all the motions once I arrived and had a bored-looking clerk tapping his foot and waiting for my order. The selection of whole fish was meager, the shrimp were astronomically expensive, and there wasn't a squid in sight. Sure, the crabs were $5.99 each, but this was the end of June and it was my last chance. I took it.

I've been talking to people about soft shell crabs, and I'm always surprised to find that some poor souls don't love them more than they could ever properly express. My mom won't touch one. She's "allergic." A person I've been doing some work with said she's a blue-crab gal. (Can't she be both?) And even my friend Ads, who I always thought would eat anything, happily, was telling me that they disturb him. (In Ads's case, at least, I feel confident I could make a convert. I think he just got the wrong dish on the wrong night.) On the other hand, most of my family adores them. My sister even put them on a short list of her favorite foods for some email-forward thingie.

Tonight I broiled the crabs and served them with a sauce made with white wine, shrimp stock, lemon juice, and garlic scapes. The garnish, in addition to chives, was the first two ripe grape tomatoes from our garden, which I sliced thin (there were only two of them) and tossed with a gremolata of garlic, parsley and lemon zest.

Is it almost May 2007?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Leftover Pasta

This doesn't look like much of a dinner, does it?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Lighter Curry

Today was one of those (many) days where I wake up thinking about what I'm going to make for dinner. Such moods are usually based on indecision and uncertainty combined with the need to move away from something I've been eating a lot of.

Hmm... what to make. Do I even have any stuff sitting around that I can use? Well, no meat. Too much meat these last few days.

A few minutes after rising, I had an idea. As I said goodbye to Margy, who was on her way to work, my last words went vaguely like this: "I'm gonna try something for dinner tonight, and it might not work out. Have a swell day!"

She asked me what I was planning.

"An Indian curry, with tofu" -- tofu that would go bad in another day if I didn't use it -- "and some shrimp" -- I had eight little guys left in a two-pound freezer bag and thought they'd make everything a little more exciting.

She trusted me.

But I just didn't know if I could pull off the tofu. I had excellent fresh tofu (which wasn't really that close to spoiling), and I didn't want it to turn to scrambled eggs in the rich and powerful sauce. Scrambled tofu is another matter; I wanted this to hold its shape. So I fried the hell out of it, in peanut oil perfumed with cumin seeds. I let it drain and made the curry with a paste of onion, garlic, and ginger and a splash of coconut milk. Turmeric and tomato paste gave it that deep color, and the consistency was nice and thick. I tossed in the fried tofu and the shrimp for the final few minutes of cooking, and then I served the curry with green chutney I made with the last of our fleeting homegrown cilantro and, ironically, the first of our burgeoning homegrown mint.

Using tofu in a curry worked out really well. Because I had let it develop a nice crustlike coating, it stayed firm in the sauce, and its relative lack of flavor wasn't a problem in a vibrantly spiced curry. I'll make this dish again, for sure.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pork + Wine = Aah

My needs were simple: I was jonesing for pancetta.

So I used the precious pork product as the foundation of an elemental little pasta sauce that also included onions, garlic, olive oil and cannellini beans. The garnish was snipped chives from our garden.

And I am pleased to report that after a few years of looking around and making occasional inquiries, I finally found a semi-obscure Italian red wine, Marzemino (2004), that brought me back to the weeks I spent way up north in Trentino, where I was served Marzemino many times. It was a real memory-churning vino -- I was tempted to pour it into small juice glasses like Italians do -- and Margy loved it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Supply Begins to Dwindle

We're still pulling pieces of Margy's quiche out of the freezer, and the quiche is still fantastic. But soon we'll need more.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Taco Night

I can't remember the last time Margy and I have spent so many days apart, and so our reunion was sweet indeed. A proper supermarket run was out of the question -- I just didn't feel like dealing -- so we stopped by Whole Foods for a few things on the way home from the train station.

I asked Margy what she wanted for dinner, and she suggested tacos. Brilliant! We got some ground pork, since all the bigger cuts of pork were astronomically expensive, plus taco shells, canned chipotle sauce (I'd hoped to find whole chipotles, but no luck), avocados, and cheddar cheese. Back at home we made guacamole and saffron rice while I cooked the pork with onions, garlic, a pinch of cumin, and the chipotle sauce.

Taco night is always great fun, and this might have been our finest effort, thanks largely to the chipotle sauce and homemade guac, but next time I'm going to bite the bullet and shop for real at ShopRite. The Whole Foods selection wasn't that great, and the prices were ridiculously high. And I was most disappointed to find that their good-looking organic carrots tasted like cardboard. We did get some pretty good apricot fruit leather, though.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Bachelor Burger

This morning I went swimming in the ocean. Then Stevesie and I drove home and spent about half the trip talking about what each of us was going to eat for dinner. That got us pretty hungry. (He was thinking barbecue; I was thinking anything.)

So after I put Stevesie on a train for the last leg of his journey, I grilled myself the ultimate hamburger, with bacon, summer onions, and hot-as-hell peppers, plus an ear of corn, potato chips, and a little glass bottle of Coke.

Margy gets home tomorrow.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Summertime Fantasy Dogs

While Margy began her two-day journey home from Maine, my guitar player Maccadonaldo grilled us some hot dogs at the Jersey shore, after we'd come back from the beach and before we played two sets of rock on a deck overlooking the ocean, with about thirteen kids staring at us from a few feet away.

It was like a dream.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Another for the Road

"The most expensive sandwich I've ever had," Margy says, "at least on a picnic table next to a shipyard."

That's a Maine lobster roll all right, a full lobster slapped on a bun with some trimmings. A humble-looking thing with some pretty lofty origins. It cost twenty bucks. It was the last day in Maine, so Margy had to sneak in one last bit of shellfish fun before heading south. She even supplemented her meal with some clams.

She continues: "The lobster pot was boiling away about fifteen feet away. My mother asked the cook if the lobsters die quickly, and he said, 'Ahhhh, yep -- right away.' There was a big sign behind him that said 'Lobsters Bite.' I found that inspiring."

An inspired Margy bit right through her sandwich.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

One for the Cook (and for Mom)

While Margy was basking in lobster bliss, I still had to eat.

Tonight I joined my parents for a meal to celebrate Mom's birthday. We went to a place called Pierre's, and everything was delicious. Well, almost everything -- the profiteroles were lazy and uninspired. But all the savory stuff was great. We started with an eggplant and goat cheese tart that was flaky and tasty. And my dad and I both ordered sautéed soft shell crabs for our entree.

I knew I wanted the crabs immediately, and I announced my intentions. This, according to my father's unofficial rule, meant he couldn't order them and had to get something else, so he could taste my crabs and I could taste whatever he got. But I could tell he was bummed. After a few more minutes of scrutinizing the menu, he said, "The halibut sounds good."

"I'm going to have that," my mom said without hesitation. Dad let out a little rush of air through his nose. After a while he said, most unconvincingly, "Maybe I'll get the chicken."

"The chicken?" my mother asked, as she and I then pleaded, in unison, "Get the crabs." He considered it once more.

Seconds later you could feel the weight lift off his shoulders as he finally committed to ordering the thing he truly wanted, even if it meant we were selfishly and hedonistically doubling up.

I have to say, it was a wise decision. This might have been the best soft shell crab dish I've ever had in a restaurant. The legs and claws were beautifully crisp, the crab plump and juicy. And the herbs, garlic, and garlic scapes on top were a bright, fresh touch. I ate slowly and quickly at the same time, finally easing almost to a halt for those last few wonderful bites.

Happy birthday, Mama! And, Dad -- nice work.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

No Lobster for Breakfast

Margy and co. stopped for popovers after a long walk around Jordan Pond. Popovers were the house specialty, so she says she was surrounded by people devouring them.

"They're hollow inside, as popovers generally are -- so I had two," Margy adds. From her waitress, she learned that the batter should be made 24 hours before baking.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Mother Lode

Okay, it's a big moment... we have a guest writer -- Margy herself! We'll let her describe her lobster-fest, for I'm at a loss for words (and I wasn't invited):

"This was a one-pound steamed lobster served with a side of BUTTER. It was the moment I was waiting for -- a whole lobster, un-tampered-with. Infinitely better than any other variation.

"Did you know that 22 million pounds of lobster are pulled from the Gulf of Maine each year? I’m thinking if they average one pound each, that’s 22 million pounds of lobster each year. Now I understand why the bays and harbors look like little galaxies full of lobster buoys. Wow. (By the way, I learned this info from a real park ranger.)

"I learned a trick to eating lobster legs. You have to squeeze them like a tube of toothpaste and the meat will just pop out -- not a trick for the tender at heart."

How I wish I had been there. I'm ready for my tube of lobster-leg toothpaste.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Can't Beat Maine Lobster

Margy says one of her goals for her trip was "to eat as much lobster as possible," and she began auspiciously on her first night in Maine, with lobster ravioli.

The restaurant overlooked Northeast Harbor, and the ravioli were in a tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella and garnished with an edible orchid. Margy enjoyed the ravioli; her niece ate the orchid, along with her chicken fingers, and found it unremarkable.

To me the remarkable part is an eight-year-old being willing to eat something as exotic and non-dessert-like as a flower.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Margy Hits the Open Road

Before heading up to Maine, Margy and company alighted at her sister's place in New Hampshire for a night.

Her sis broke out one of her signature dishes, seafood linguine. It was made with shrimp, scallops, cream, and fresh tomatoes. Sis set the table beautifully and served the meal as a celebration of their mother's birthday, which is in February. "We do things ahead of schedule in our family," Margy says.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Kielbasa on Rye

I had to drown my sorrows, for Margy left me.

I mean, she left me at home for ten days while she went to frolic by the lake with the women in her family. So I rounded up the troops and did what comes naturally: go to the Bohemian Beer Garden in Queens.

If you've never been, the place is a massive fenced-in tree-studded yard that can accommodate, and I'm guessing here, oh, about a thousand people at its dozens of long wooden benches. There's an outdoor bar and an indoor bar (indoor dining rooms too, though no one really goes inside except to order a drink or use the bathroom), and a stand that sells kielbasa and hamburgers. There's also a full menu and, somewhere, a full kitchen.

The beer, it went down smooth. We mostly drank Spaten. When it was time for a kielbasa, I led the charge. The sausage was too salty, the fries too soggy, but that didn't matter a bit. Washed down with more Spaten, it was the perfect beer garden meal. It's sad that the place is the only remaining outpost of its kind in New York City. We need to hark back to the days when there was a beer garden on every block.

A quick message from CFM: Caryn, a good friend and loyal supporter, is embarking on a strange and terrifying journey on Saturday, July 29, and she needs your help. She will be blogging for 24 hours straight. Okay, so maybe straight isn't the right word. But from 9am on Saturday the 29th till 9am on Sunday the 30th, she'll be posting to her blog every half-hour as part of a Blogathon to benefit the cause of literacy. She's even pledging to run a Webcam in the wee hours, "so you can see just what insanity looks like at 3am." Please check her out during the Blogathon -- she'll make it worth your while -- and lend a bit of support as she confronts the Herculean task of facing a blank screen every 30 minutes.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Panko Props

Fried panko-coated shrimp are irresistible, and they're even worth all the oil splatters. Tonight we had a breakthrough on that front and laid out an old towel near the stove to catch some of the invisible flying grease. I'm pleased to report I didn't almost fall on my face like I usually do, not even once.

I like to toss the panko crumbs with a bunch of sesame seeds -- white, black, or both. The seeds look great, and they add flavor and a bit more crunch.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rib Roast

It was the Fourth of July all over again. I just sauced up the leftover ribs, wrapped them in foil, and threw them in the oven.

We also had a few crispy potatoes left from our Independence Day feast, and to round out the dinner I made guacamole, using cilantro from our garden. Slicing and scooping avocados is something I could really get used to.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Playing with Pasta

Pasta night is when I really get to experiment. I'm not pushing the boundaries or anything, but it's fun to start with no preconceived notions and let the pantry be the guide.

It's almost like Iron Chef, except:

A. I don't really know the secret ingredient until it's time to start cooking. Don't tell me those chefs have no idea what they'll be working with before the battle, because I'll never believe it.

B. Alton Brown isn't running around in my kitchen and illuminating my creative process. I think I would like that part, but I'm not sure I'd give him much to talk about.

C. There is no panel of pompous/ignorant/ditzy/blowhard (take your pick) judges to make me squirm as they criticize my food and I console myself by thinking, Does that nitpicky restaurant publicist really know anything anyway? I just have Margy, who is a great audience and who knows how to deliver constructive criticism -- though I certainly wouldn't mind hosting some of the judges from the original Japanese version of the show. I like those smiling foie-gras-eating actresses.

So I guess it's really not like Iron Chef at all, except it's fun. Tonight I looked around and found some capicola in the fridge and cannellini in the cabinet, and I was off to the races. I cooked the capicola in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes, then removed it and added garlic, a chili, and some parsley from the garden, plus the cannellini. I put the capicola back at the end, swirled in some pasta cooking water, turned off the heat, and stirred in lots of Parmesan and black pepper.

My theme for the secret ingredient was "Oh, man -- I'd better hurry up and get dinner on the table," and Chairwoman Margy declared me the winner.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day Pork

The last few days had been such a whirlwind that we thought we'd have a quiet Fourth. But we still had to eat.

It's been something of a "low and slow" summer, at least as far as our grill is concerned, so I thought that rather than par-boiling or baking the ribs and then finishing them on a hot grill, I'd cook them for a long time over indirect heat, until they were ready to surrender.

That's the way to go. I gave two racks, each cut in half, two hours. I also flavored the hell out of those ribs, first with a dry rub, and then with a sauce (I used the rest of our bottle of Hunt's ketchup for that one, plus a puree of onion and garlic and chilies, along with white vinegar and some other goodies). I also used hickory smoker chips. Over the long cooking time, the rub and the smoke really worked their way into the ribs. When we took a bite, we could see that a rosy red color had penetrated pretty far into the meat.

But despite all the flavorings, the ribs, basted gloriously by their own melting fat, held onto their essential porkitude. Thank goodness. It would have been a terrible mistake to suppress that. I'd have no choice but to pick up some more racks and try again.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Curry Homework

Instead of going to the regular supermarket to replenish our supplies, we hit the Asian market for Chinese black beans, green tea, sesame oil, tofu, baby bok choy, long beans, fresh chilies, ginger candies that we love and most other people hate -- and coconut milk, lemongrass, and shrimp paste.

After all, it was time to solidify some of the things we learned in our Thai cooking class, and we needed some vital items. I was hoping I might be able to track down the elusive galangal and kaffir lime leaves, but alas I was correct that the market doesn't stock them. Bummer.

The place does have great fish and meat counters, so, while Margy the gardener bought some plants over at Home Depot, I grabbed a whole yellowtail for tonight and a couple of racks of pork ribs for tomorrow, the Fourth of Ju-ly. Back home, I made a dumbed-down curry paste that was still vibrant, fragrant, and tasty. In the class we learned that Thais grind up the entire cilantro plant in their pastes -- stems, roots, and all. In fact, the instructor said Thais might use everything but the leaves, which are too good looking to just bash into oblivion and are better used later as a garnish.

The exciting part is that our garden is blossoming, and this week the cilantro was at its peak. So I just ripped some out of the ground, rinsed off the dirt, and threw the roots and stems in the processor with garlic, chilies, lime zest, shrimp paste, salt, pepper, and spices. I rubbed some paste onto the fish, which I broiled, and I cooked the rest with coconut milk and fish sauce to make a little pool of flavor to let the yellowtail swim around in. For a garnish I used Thai basil leaves from the plant we got in Vermont, along with more cilantro. May the parade of homegrown bounty continue!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Teriyaki Sunday

After returning home from our weekend of wedded bliss -- including a great pool party that saw a three-song reunion of my college band -- I would have been content to eat a bowl of cereal and pass out. But Margy craved something a little more substantial, so we ran out for some chicken and shrimp teriyaki. Can you believe they charged like $2.65 for an extra container of rice? Like a sucker, I paid it. We'd give it a good home...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

A Very Long Engagement

The Thowmbpsin wedding was finally here. And after a lovely ceremony, a spirited cocktail hour, and a ooh-aah first dance, it was time for dinner.

Those wacky Thowmbpsins left us a bunch of little goodies in our hotel rooms that included an impossibly fun welcome guide ("Hello, my name is Ms. Thowmbpsin" -- soon to be Mrs. Thowmbpsin -- "and I'll be your bride for this wedding"), along with a plastic bib and some handy wipes. You can see why we might have needed those last items, but Margy and I forgot ours.

Luckily, for a good bunch of barbecue the food wasn't all that messy. It was, however, tasty. I had to try as many things as I could, even though I wanted to save room for dancing with Margy. Hot sausage, a chicken wing, some ribs -- I made the rounds. I tried not to pick the ribs up -- that opens the door for all sorts of problems -- but at some point my hunger got the best of me. I'm happy to report that my snazzy duds survived.

It really was one of the best weddings we've ever attended. Great couple, old friends, a beautiful setting, over-the-top toasts, terrific music and dancing, barbecue. That's pretty much everything, isn't it?