Mary Beth Writes

Our family gathered for Easter dinner this year, um, the Saturday after Easter. I guess flexibility is one of our survival skills.  Our three kids have in-laws, one baby, two dogs and all three live 1-3 hours away. We are grateful when these kids show up at all, let alone needing them on specific dates.

So. Easter dinner. The kids had given Len a new Weber grill for his birthday – which inspired an Easter menu of kabobs. Some marinated and grilled veggies plus a lot of marinated and grilled meat.

But because he is Len and I wasn’t looking, he hared off in a direction none of us expected.

He created NINE rubs and marinades for the chicken, pork, and beef. And when he served these NINE small bowls of meat for us to mix and match on our plates – he identified them.

But not with a simple label… but with the opening line to a novel which will never be written though you can feel the story in your soul as you chow down on the awesome food.

I think I have not feted Len’s meat feat enough. Sure, I’ve had these crazy story starts taped to the fridge since April. But it is Labor Day weekend. Time to publically commemorate grilled food.

BTW, I just asked him if he still has the recipes. He says no, though some of the rubs were from Penzeys https://www.penzeys.com/  (I think his sister gave them to him for Xmas. Len gets a lot of meat-themed presents.)

Without further ado. Leonard’s Marinated Story Starts:

  1. Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon.  In the darkest hours of WWII, Julia and her husband, an OSS agent, huddled under the rubble of a resistance fortress while Nazi Panther tanks roared overhead.  When the danger passed, the fighters removed their berets as Julia piped, “Bon Appetit!”
  2. Steakhouse Beef.  Easter Day. At the edge of town, under the harsh glow of neon lights proclaiming, “FOOD,” a waitress lit a Marlboro and looked back at a life of sweet promises and bitter disappointments.  Hoping to snag a ham on rye for a break-time snack, the Mexican cook surprised her with “Felices Pascuas” and a hearty repast.
  3. Jack Pine Sausage Chicken.  In the chill of a springtime snowstorm, in the Rhinelander Northwoods, Jacques the Lumberjack bursts into the cook shanty with a couple of squawking chickens.  “Grill them up, mon frères!” he cries.
  4. The Chicken of Zorba.  On a lonely beach, a lonely Englishman pauses, not sure if he should enter the smoky café or take a final walk into the sea.  Inside, he meets an immigrant from the island of Crete, who renews his purpose in life and also gives him some chicken.
  5. Teriyaki Chicken.  Come with me to a mysterious land where the recipes of our ancestors are worshipped and meals come with a tale of the samurai.  Look, this piece saved a noble from bandits, and this one carries the whispered urgings of a beautiful Geisha. 
  6. Teriyaki Pork.  “This is our hill!” The high-pitched whine of a Honda Civic is followed by the screech of rubber as the car slides sideways down the steep incline.  Following close behind is a Supra with a tuned Acura engine and a stereo blaring K-Pop, carrying a steaming pot of pork.
  7. Pork Mole. The white bag of pork is stained with grease and the fingerprints of the grandmother who works in the kitchen.  The grandson, who works as the delivery guy for this place, looks up from his community college textbook and reads the delivery address to which he needs to drive it. As he walks toward the Ford Taurus, he thinks of the future that lies ahead of him.  He sees the set of 26’s on the car, and smiles.  It will be a good ride.
  8. Peppercorn Beef.  A happy chef, a Turkish chef, wipes his hands on his apron and glances at the picture above the grill.  It is a newspaper photo of a popular movie star, but she seems to be staring straight at the chef and he smiles.  Dreaming of a night of love, he adds another dash of pepper, recklessly, and starts to whistle.
  9. Chili Coffee Beef.  The sun is rising, it is the beginning of a new day and the end of shift for two policeman in Waukesha.  They have worked with one another for years, and they turn without saying a word into the small café.  The other patrons barely look up, the counterman doesn’t need to ask them what they want.  But, with respect, he places a linen napkin in front of each of their plates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Even a vegan could be enticed to partake with these literary labels.

Wonderfully delightfully irreverent and amusing! Thank you for sharing Len’s humor!

Made me smile. Your family dinners sound very entertaining.

Love this photo - it captures Len perfectly! What a fun day this was, I can feel it when I read this. Meat themed gifts......I remember a birthday duck!

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Mountain Top Toddler

We drove to Chicago to help care for our 2-year old granddaughter. There is a lot going on in their family as is true of any family with a toddler, a new infant, and two working parents. Such as; my daughter went back to work the same week their daycare center closed for a 10-day break. A perfect storm of domestic hoopla. 

We only watched her from 7:30AM until 4PM on Monday and Tuesday. When our son-in-law came home from work, he took over. Other relatives are watching her the next few days. 

Here are three things I noticed about taking care of a toddler.

"Death Comes for the Archbishop" and How to drive to the Y without a map.

I read Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” when I was in high school. I heard it was an important book which made me curious (still does), so I borrowed it from the library and read the whole thing.

It was mud. I didn’t care about the characters; two middle-aged priests who go to the American southwest to build and strengthen the Catholic church. Snooze. Nothing cohesive happens. They do a bunch of walking around in the desert followed by episodes of trying to be helpful a few days here, a few years there. Yawn.

When Weaving is NOT a Metaphor

I wrote this 12 years ago.  It's long and even I get confused as to what I wrote when one gets about half way through this  - and I was there!   But some of you will be interested to read how those "ethnic weavings" from Guatemala begin.  Next time you buy something hand woven, for less than $20, you will understand that price is not right.

.....

Retirement Smackdown

I just made a list of fourteen friends who have retired in the past five years. Of the fourteen, SEVEN retired early and abruptly when their employer’s business practices, for various reasons, changed or failed.

There is a myth out there that retirement is a fixed event with a date one knows years in advance. Then at the desired retirement age there will be a company party where one gets a memento from their employer - and after that they live aimlessly, trying to find purpose.  

Cahokia

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And if one is going to be tootling down along the Mississippi River, why not hop on down to Cahokia, across from St. Louis?

I mean, how much further can it be? 

4th Thoughts

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