Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shooting the Bird

ED NOTE: This is yet another impressive essay from SJ Member Curt Simmons.
You may also read more of his (and family's) musings at their blog here

Shooting the Bird

What a glorious fall we’ve had this year in Texas. Crisp mornings followed by sunny afternoons and just enough September rain to keep everything green until the leaves turned color a few weeks ago. Throw in one of the greatest college football seasons in recent memory, a few good backyard fires and it all adds up to perfect. But then, just as we were about to go full blown, Robert Frost on everybody’s ass, it all came to a crashing halt. The first icy blast of winter? Hardly. We only have winter for about two weeks and normally schedule it between the division championships and the Super Bowl. Post election blahs, recession, dim prospects for the Mavericks? Heck no, those things are just minor annoyances. It takes a full blown disaster to ruin a great fall and the perfect storm began brewing last week with just one phone call.

Erin called and said they weren’t quite up to hosting Thanksgiving this year as they had only been back in their apartment for three days since being washed away by Ike back in September… As she rattled on we felt the winds begin to form a small tropical depression in the Caribbean… They would go to his parents which meant we were free to host everyone else here. We began making obscene gestures at the phone before we hung up. Thanksgiving at our house. Again. Awesome! The next afternoon Lori’s mother and sister just happened by and were overjoyed by the good news. Within five minutes the guest list had grown to 20, and the storm had been upgraded to a category 2 hurricane.

To say that my mother-in-law overdoes Thanksgiving is like saying that Bill Clinton had roaming eyes. She lives for it, and truth be told, she does an unbelievable job. Now the game was on. She came back later that evening to go over the menu and assignments. This is one of my favorite parts because in the 30 years I've known her, the menu has never changed. We actually have to speak aloud all of the names of all the dishes and write them down. How about turkey? Ooh, there’s a new one. Dressing? Yeah, I think I heard about that on E’meril. BAM! I usually throw her a silly curve, and she always takes the bait, “Instead of sweet potatoes, why don’t we try marinated artichokes with currants?” She’ll smile/frown and say something like,” Oh I don’t know. I’m afraid the kids would be disappointed.” So sweet potatoes it is. We then start assignments, which is an even bigger joke since she likes making everything herself and doesn’t trust anyone else other than us and only us when she can supervise. Lori always suggests that Shari or Christina brings this or that and she usually says, “Oh, they can bring rolls or maybe the appetizer plate. That’s really a lot of work and they have their hands full.” We finally agree to do everything and she is happy. This year as we concluded the planning session she dropped the hammer and informed us that Aunt Gail and Uncle Lloyd were coming from South Dakota. We were now officially at category 5.

The holiday attendance record for our modest, 1968, ranch house currently stands at 27, and in all fairness, some of them weren’t disasters. Several were though. Like the time I ran over Randy and Jane’s Golden Retriever on the way to the football game. Or when my niece slipped in the kitchen and broke her arm. Or the year we had to rush Jack to the emergency room with an asthma attack. Or the year I had surgery on Tuesday. Each a treasure in the memory chest, but what unites them all is the fact that all of the guests still expect to be fed their full blown, traditional, Norman Rockwell feast on time despite these little inconveniences, always in our house. It’s sort of like a bad government program, at first a good idea but now just another entitlement. But as I said earlier, it’s Carol’s favorite darned day of the whole year and we love her, so we’ll love Thanksgiving too. She will start cooking on Sunday and won't stop till we clean up the leftovers after the 10:00pm supplemental feeding Thursday night. Our pattern is pretty predictable as well. We will get up early Thursday morning and play the full version of Alice’s Restaurant while we drink Kahlua laced coffee and then cook like galley slaves. Hopefully our 2nd grade nephew, Sam will bring a homemade centerpiece. Once the table is set and Carol does her Betty Crocker curtsey, we will all begin passing and sighing and conversing and passing some more. During the course of the meal and day, Lori and I will occasionally slip out of the room towards the kitchen carrying a decoy platter or pitcher. We’ll end up in Erin’s old bedroom where in the closet our friends from the Sauza family, the Tres Generaciones, reside. I’ve glued some turkey feathers from my fly-tying kit to a couple of shot glasses and we’ll give thanks each time we feel the warm, agave nectar slide down our throats. Who knows, after the 3rd or 4th trip, we might even hug Aunt Gail.

Au Revoir lovely fall. You were too beautiful for this world.


Blogger Sorina said...

Hi I am new to your blog and I just wanted to say how much I’m loving it

Fri Nov 28, 01:53:00 PM CST  

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