Can't you just taste it? Doesn't it just make you miss summer right about now?
Can't you just taste it? Doesn't it just make you miss summer right about now?
It’s bitter cold outside, I’m dreaming about warm weather and backyard bbq’s.
The Weber grill has some sweet and savory chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs too. Family and friends sit around having a soda or a beer, fresh lemonade. There’s potato salad, coleslaw and delicious sweet and crunchy, corn on the cob and home-made buttery bread. It’s like a bit of sunshine sweetness in every bite. Chips and dip, nothing fancy, just great food and perfect weather, hanging outside for as long as we want, with a guitar strumming and people singing out back in the garden.
I miss summer so badly, I could just about cry.
Just kidding. I’m about to emote and perhaps complain and I thought it was a catchy title which somehow worked it’s way inside my brain out of nowhere. It’s the evening of the fourth of the July and I am feeling lonely and uncomfortable. The high point of my day is hearing the thunderstorms outside. It’s hot, about 80 percent humidity and I feel like an old woman with my joints (not THOSE kind of joints) swollen and my muscles tense and painful.
I know my fellow Fibromyalgia mates feel the same way but it doesn’t make me feel better. Everything hurts, I can barely stand up without extreme effort. I am in pain both physically and emotionally.
I think I hate holidays more than I ever have. I used to love them when the children were young and when my dad was alive and when my sister and I used to get along better. Now? They are just a painful reminder of all that I don’t have. Holidays seem to bring the worst out of everybody, senses over stimulated, emotions seem raw.
I have a sister who seems like she is just a few miles from estranged, we talk once in a while but we can never agree or love each other for who we are. It’s a shame, I know, but our history is not in our favor. We try to keep it together for our mother. It works both ways. It just reaffirms everything we are not.
I miss our dad who has been dead for a very long time. He loved this holiday, he would swing a fake pointer and pretend to be the orchestra conductor; the Macy’s Fireworks would light up his bedroom concert hall. I couldn’t even watch it on television this year, it made me too sad.
Time moves on, I can accept not liking certain holidays. I know that both my children are leaving for college in the fall. I know I am not young anymore and that my chin droops from where I have lost weight.
I am grateful for what I do have: a loving husband, two great kids, a crazy puppy, my mom and plenty of friends that I trust and rely on. One can’t have everything. A friend suggested I copy this to remember:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
As soon as I feel the first warm hint of spring on my shoulders and see the first crocus I immediately rejoice! It’s Spring, not officially, but in my snow-sickened world it is the start. As soon as Spring is even in the air I start thinking of having barbeques, especially the one BIG BBQ we try to have every few years. I’m imagining all our friends and family out in the back yard eating cheeseburgers from the Weber grill, dripping with either cheddar or American cheese. I think about grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and juicy hot dogs, and bright yellow mustard. I also think of potato chips, the real kind, the ones we had as kids and not the baked, healthy, kind either. There would be Heinz ketchup, (of course I’m brand loyal) potato salad made with a touch of mayonnaise, coleslaw and perhaps a large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and a touch of light green extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the vibrant red tomatoes and the creamy white mozzarella cheese. I love how the earthy smell of basil lingers between your fingertips all afternoon.
In addition, we may have small roasted potatoes on the grill along side smokey-sweet yellow and white kernels of corn on the cob. Red and white plastic table cloths, bright red or blue plastic plates (preferably the ones that have three sections, love those!) and disposable cups. Napkins would be stacked high in your hands as if they were towels. Messy and barbeques to me are happy synonyms.
Once we went to a barbecue at Charlotte’s house, (“Charlotte of the charmed life” as I call her) the table was like a set directly from a page right out of Martha Stewart Living. Everything matched, the beige, ironed linen table-cloth ( l-i-n-e-n), the highest quality count, and the china decorated with large blue and yellow flowers bursting on the plates. Of course, all the bowls, the silver utensils, they all matched perfectly as I watched in unmitigated horror and delight. This is not what I thought I was coming to, I felt under-dressed and ill at ease. It was absolute perfection just not MY type of perfection. It was for high-class people with lots of money and so very different from our dinners and us.
We dined on steak and salmon, ( I hid my salmon) a glossy arrangement of bright green, yellow and red fresh vegetables and imported cheeses. There were no sticky fingers and plastic glasses of lemonade, just a beautiful crystal pitcher filled with ice water, ice cubes that were in the shape of tropical fruit. I was afraid to eat, afraid to get the napkins dirty so I ate slowly and carefully and with my luck, ended up leaving a stain on the tablecloth which I fervently tried to hide underneath the matching napkin. There were no s’mores at this dinner, it was too elegant. We had assorted cookies from the expensive bakery in town shaped and iced beautifully like flowers and cars and ice cream cones but utterly tasteless.
At our barbeques we have cherry, blueberry and apple crumb pies glistening on the table inside with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream readily waiting in our freezer. I make my home-baked banana raisin-chocolate chip loaf and there would always, I mean always, be a chocolate cake and brownies.
I put my nephew, Jon, in charge of music so the sounds of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and various other oldies will be playing out the window like the days when music screamed from dorm rooms. It isn’t fancy or elegant and it may just be ordinary but I guarantee you, there will be, a lot of food, including s’mores and an equal amount of laughter. Hope you can come.
I admit it, I came back for a second helping of Man vs Food. Adam is back again and so am I. Get ready America, he is about to eat something called a “Garbage Burger.” Sounds yummy, don’t you think? Do I even want to know what that is made of? Unfortunately, yes I do, I’m disgustingly curious. A “Garbage Burger” is mostly eaten in the parking lot “Cuz they can’t wait to go home” and the food drips right down your arm. Located near Duke University, this small shop serves comfort food, like chili and burgers and a whole lot more. The “Garbage Burger” consists of: double, bacon cheese burgers with the works, lettuce tomato, pickles, coleslaw AND chili; it weighs one and a quarter lbs. of pure meat. He ate it so fast I may have missed a few ingredients, forgive me. As disgusting and gross this show can be it has me obsessively entertained and revolted at the same time. I’m still going to complain about the amount of food eaten and the wrong message given to people but, I do admit I haven’t turned the show off yet.
Not only am I watching it, I am watching it with my friend Suzie who is watching it on her television another state away. We are sending each other IM’s that mostly consist of sayings like “that’s gross” or “I’m hungry.”When Adam eats the infamous “Suicidal Challenge of Six Spicy Wings” we can honestly see his nose run, and hear him he burp. We are so proud.
On another episode of Man vs. Food, I didn’t want any food near me. There’s enough grease on the show that I can practically get it by osmosis. Tonight’s episode: Kansas City, BBQ, 6.5 lb platter. Imagine this, Adam is the first one to take the challenge. Missouri, we learn is the BBQ capital of the world , YEE-HAW! I see the fat oozing out of the meat…it’s becoming a little too greasy in my house. They cook everything, brisket, ribs, burnt ends, and more. The raw brisket looks like the size of a not so small deer. I never knew about burnt ends until this show. I was at a party recently and I thought the burned ends on a plate was a mistake. Oops, next time I will run to try them, I promise. We learn that there’s even a gas station that has a BBQ restaurant attached to it, really convenient!
Now we are back to home cooking: fountains of water, fried chicken, gravy soaked mashed potatoes and gooey cinnamon rolls. (I wanted to bite into that while watching the show.) Crispy, juicy pan-fried chicken. It’s fried in soy bean oil, that sounds healthy, right? Crusty bits, “cracklins’ for the gravy…cracklins? Apparently it’s “whole body lickin good” if I heard that correctly.
The ultimate BBQ show down: Ultimate Destroyer: 6 lbs (SIX POUNDS) of Papa John’s, sliced pork, pulled pork, turkey breast hamburger, sausage, all together: first a hoagie bun, then: 7 beef patties, pulled pork, sliced pork, bbq sauce, white bread for structural support, ham, turkey breast, white bread for more support, 3 hamburger patties, more sauce, another layer of bread, half a pound of brisket, and half a pound of sausage, more sauce and it is capped off with the top of the hoagie/sub AND One AND a half pound of french fries. I’m about to gag. Seriously gross….but let’s see if he can do it. “Let the pig out begin”shouts the ringmaster at this circus and so it does. I really feel nauseous. “Go Adam go! ” the people scream. Oh no, it seems like he’s hit the “burger blockade!!!” GASP! Even Adam seems unsure of himself….he shoves it in his mouth and food spit comes flying out. Please let this show be over soon. I’m sorry to report: DEFEAT, he was sunk by the Ultimate Destroyer. He only had half the sandwich, and he is down, down , down, beaten and depressed. I have no doubt however that sometime in the future he will revisit this challenge. I can hardly wait.
Usually I snack at 10:30 but tonight after watching the Man vs. Food show I went downstairs and I could only face a pure, natural, plum and it was good.