Sunday, February 15, 2015

Food binds us together--a weekend of wonderful food, family and friends

Jacob with Charyl at the Old Neighborhood Grill--she sees him coming and says, "Grilled cheese. No pickles."

Texas author James Ward Lee, sometimes called the grandfather of Texas literature, once wrote, "The foods we eat, the way we eat them, and the imagination we bestow upon their preparation will tell [much about us] to historians, folklorists, and anthropologists of Buck Rogers's twenty-fifth century." (Quote in the jacket copy to Eats: A Folk History of Texas Foods, by Ernestine Sewell Linck and Joyce Gibson Roach.) I was privileged to be part of the editing and promotion of that book, and Jim's words long stayed with me. I thought of them this weekend, which was filled with food, family and friends.
On Friday night, friends organized a food and fellowship gathering at the Kimbell Museum--where the food is always good although ordering at the buffet counter is a bit puzzling sometimes. It was a time to see friends I hadn't seen in a while as well as some I see frequently. And it was lots of fun. Low key, no program except some background music--a real chance to visit with the like-minded.
Meanwhile, Jacob was having cooking lessons which is good--we want him to grow up in the
cooking tradition of his family. Jay, my good-looking neighbor, took Jacob to the Grill for supper and then home, where they made red sauce for the next night's lasagna. Jacob chopped onion and garlic and learned to curl his fingers under so he didn't chop them; he sautéed tomato paste and learned to tuck his shirttail in when around open flames. He came home high on excitement for what he'd accomplished, and the next night modestly accepted praise for his part in the dinner.
Our Valentines party was an Italian night. Jordan brought home several bottles of chianti from her Italian trip this fall, so we had antipasto, lasagna, salad, gelato--and, oh yes,
chocolate truffles! Lots of laughter.
Antipasto is one of my favorite ways to entertain--with Jordan's help, I loaded one tray with salami, cheese, smoked salmon, and a small bowl of banana peppers. Another tray held vegetables--artichoke hearts, cut up hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, olives, baby ears of corn. In some cases that's an easy meal. I felt sophisticated when I asked the deli guy for capicola--it's the only salami I know by name!

Finally this morning the third graders at church received their Bibles as part of the service. Jacob's other grandparents and I were in attendance to beam with pride. He was pretty happy and proud himself when he came back to the pew with a children's version of the Modern English Bible. (I secretly hoped for the King James version but it would have baffled him!)
Then of course we had to celebrate--more antipasto, a Mexican casserole, and a huge salad--new recipe I found on High Made Foods for Fiesta Salad and dressing. I never put sugar in salad dressing, but this was really good.
So tonight it's back to half a tuna salad sandwich. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be the kind of days when you want to stay in, and I will eat modestly--very modestly. There's that six lbs. I gained over the holidays! But what a great weekend.
Yes, food binds us in fellowship, and as I said to someone recently, "If I'm not writing, I'm cooking."

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