If you cook like I do, it takes a little while. And that's part of the whole point. "Not now. I'm trying to cook dinner," I tell the Seven Year Old, who wants me to wrestle or play cards or play X-Box with him, since having the first 11 hours of a Sunday utterly devoted to his every whim just hasn't been enough "play time".
The longer I can draw that process out the better. Some men play golf to get themselves out of the house for a good four or five hour stretch. I cook overly complex meals. And hence this little drama:
Scene 1: A kitchen in a house in suburban Mt. Pleasant, SC. A father is preparing a chicken to roast in the oven.
[Enter Seven Year Old, wearing a down vest, plastic space helmet with visor, and plastic raygun]
Seven Year Old: Daddy, send me on a mission!
Father: Okay [thinks for a few seconds]. Trooper, the evil turtle has set a bomb that will go off in three minutes. To defuse it, you need . . . um . . . a pink shoe, a bridge, and . . . um . . . an article of clothing with a "B" on it. [sets kitchen alarm]. You have five minutes. Ready . . . GO!!!
[Seven year old exits stage left, hauling ass.]
[Father mixes a mai tai, listens to a little music on the stereo, enjoys the relative quiet downstairs.]
[Four minutes and fifty three seconds later, the Seven Year enters stage left, hauling ass and sweating in his down vest, which is much too warm for a South Carolina October. He's clutching a pink flip flop, a wooden bridge piece from the Thomas the Tank Engine train set, and a Boston Red Sox cap.]
Father: Great job! You defused the bomb. And with just seven seconds left!
Seven Year Old: Give me another mission!
Father: Okay [thinks a minute]. This time, the bomb is set for SEVEN minutes. And to defuse it you need to find five things that start with the letter 'Q". Ready . . . go!
[Seven year old exits stage left again, still hauling ass.]
Father: Parenthood is easy.
Scene 2: An upstairs family room in a house in suburban Mt. Pleasant, SC. A mother is sitting on the couch, trying to watch her favorite TV show while her two year old crawls all over her, demanding attention. She turns on the closed captioning so she can follow the dialog over the toddler's screeching.
[Enter Seven year old, hauling ass.]
Seven Year Old: MOMMY! I NEED A PINK SHOE! RIGHT NOW!
Mother: What? What are you talking about?
Seven Year Old: A PINK SHOE! A PINK SHOE! A PINK SHOE! RIGHT NOW! PLEEEASSE! IT'S URGENT!
Mother: I'm trying to watch my show! WHAT do you need a PINK shoe for?
Seven Year Old: A MISSION! I NEED A PINK SHOE!
Mother: No, you don't, I'm . . . fine, whatever. There's a pink shoe in my closet. Just leave me alone!
[Seven Year Old exits stage right, hauling ass. Fifteen seconds later's he's back.]
Seven Year Old: MOMMY MOMMMY MOMMY I NEED A BRIDGE RIGHTNOWRIGHTNOWRIGHTNOW!
Mother: I'm TRYING to watch my show! WHAT do you need?
Seven Year Old: A BRIDGE! A BRIDGE! A BRIDGE! RIGHT NOW! I HAVE THIRTY SECONDS LEFT!
Mother: Oh MY GOD!
Scene 3: A bedroom in a house in suburban Mt. Pleasant, SC.
Father: Man, aren't the weekends great!
Mother: [feigns sleep]
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
My much-awaited copy of John and Dale Reed's Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue arrived this week, and I've been working my way through it eagerly. It's a three-part book, covering "The Lore" (history and evolution of barbecue in the state of NC), "The Food" (a thorough cataloging of all aspects of the NC style--including recipes!--from cornsticks to Brunswick Stew), and finally "The People" (interviews with a dozen heavy-hitters in the world of NC barbecue).
The material is detailed and definitive--the most thorough volume to date on barbecue in the Tarheel State--but the Reeds have a great light-hearted style, and there are hundreds of priceless pictures, making it an all-around fun book.
I haven't been able to finish the thing yet because everytime I sit down with it I can only make it through about forty pages before I have to grab my keys and head out to find a barbecue joint. If I don't get too much sauce on the pages, I'll give a full report in a few days.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I spent the weekend at the beach with my parents, and they brought with them a big bag of fresh-picked mountain apples from North Carolina. While I've bought "mountain apples" a few times at farmer's markets here in Charleston, it was the first time in recent memory that I've had ones fresh off the tree. Man, what a difference. Sweet, tart, and so flavorful they'll knock your socks off.
Plus, the apples travel pretty well. My folks bought them on Saturday, and here it is five days later and I'm enjoying one of the big Granny Smiths I took home with me, pairing them up with a nice manchego cheese and, criminey!, the two flavors just blend together perfectly.
These aren't even heirloom varieties, just fresh picked versions of what you normally buy at the local BiLo. I don't see how I can ever settle for one of those tasteless Washington State models again.
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