The sea air and sunshine contributed to the tastiness we experienced this weekend but I’ve had everything-tastes-so-good weekends that cannot be attributed solely to the weather.
- My husband, toddler and I chilled out in the Georgia Mountains for a few days in October. We took a few basic seasonings and winged it in the small kitchen. Sipping on pinot noir, we sang out loud to bluegrass (like Nickel Creek) while spareribs roasted slowly on foil. No hours of smoking. No special blend of spices. Only ketchup and honey for a glaze. We ended up licking sticky sauce from our fingers and watching meat fall off bones while debating whether we could ever recreate these ribs at home.
- Shortly after J was born we went to Prince Edward County with my brother-in-law and his wife. We booked a day-long wine tour. I can still hear my brother-in-law shouting, “Lush!” as a white stretch limo (circa 1982!) showed up to drive us around. We spent the day swirling wine and shopping at roadside farm stands, the butcher’s, the local mushroom farm (stinky but fun!) and the cheese shops (stinkier but even more fun!). That night everyone had a hand in cooking up our bounty. The boys seared King Henry Chops and grilled veggies while Maria and I added splashes of Long Dog Pinot Gris to mushrooms sautéed with garlic and thyme. (Even baby J helped by having a long nap.) We laughed, we danced, we stirred and then we feasted together at an unfinished wooden table. The fun we’d had shopping and cooking sang out from every mouthful of fresh simple food.
- And then there’s this weekend at Cocoa Beach. My parents got a goose knowing that neither my husband nor I had ever tried one. While my mom started in on the roasting and the making of orange sauce, the boys and I sat up at the kitchen bar snacking on wasabi peas and discussing what to do with the giblets. We made a group decision that goose liver paté was essential. While the Bee Gees sang about the New York Times effect on man, the boys kept snackin’ and sippin’ on beer and I seared the liver in rendered goose fat and butter. My mom added caramelized onions (leftover from Friday’s turkey burgers, she sure has a knack with those leftovers!). We deglazed with Malbec and tossed in thyme leaves. It all went into the food processor with some salt and pepper and then into the fridge. Shortly before our goose was cooked, we all sampled the bit of creamy richness that had been created on a whim in a holiday kitchen. (Yes, the goose was crisp fantastic-ness as well.)
Good music, friends and family with a bit of experimentation and teamwork yields the best food every time. In fact, writing this inspired me to improve today’s lunch with a little party in the kitchen. I put on some Ralph’s World and J and I made leftover Mac ‘n’ Cheese and Wiener Omelets. That may not sound like a good combo to you but I assure you that our singing combined with a little teamwork made it into something special (just don’t ask about the eggshells in the omelets!).
Check out the other posts in the series When Does Food Taste THE BEST?