Sunday we had a good friend over for dinner. Of course, with the luck we seem to be having (car dying, gas heater dying, fridge dying,... yada yada) the air conditioner died. Which reminded us of our wonderful trip to Indonesia and how sweltering it was when the power would go off. Good thing our friend is a yoga expert and lives in the desert, I think he was pretty comfortable.
Whenever we have someone over for dinner we break out the hurkin' Silver Spoon cookbook. You know, the one comprehensive Italian cooking tome that someone took 100 years to painstakingly put all the recipes anyone's Italian grandmother ever made and stick it in one place. It wasn't until a few years ago this wealth of culinary knowledge was available translated in English.
Hubby got it for me as a 'just because' present. Instead of flowers I got a 40 pound cook book. "Just because' he's crazy for Italian food. "Just whip it out and make something once and a while," he instructed.
Which is a fine idea, except that being the mother of five, with a job and a busy schedule shuttling the next generation's Olympic athletes around, my cooking has devolved to only include things that are made with hamburger, a crockpot, cream of something soup, or a bag of greens that can be dumped on a plate and dressing added. Voila, dinner.
We decided against slaving over a hot stove since the internal temperature of the house was about 200 degrees and instead we grilled.
Now, we know we have a true friend when they keep coming back to the house to be fed by us, Laurel and Hardy of the cooking set. After four hours of grilling ribs on the barbie at low heat, hubby catches an unwarranted amount of smoke escaping from the covered grill out of the corner of his eye. Ribs? Burnt to a crisp. Thankfully we had some chickin in the fridge. And this is after I poured Champagne on the poor man's leg. The last time he came over, I'm afraid I pelted him with carrots I was mixing into the mashed potatoes (Sienfeld's wife has nothing on me - deceptively delicious? As if the concept of mixing nutrient rich foods into kid friendly ones had never crossed another mother's mind.) using my stand mixer that was set to the highest setting when I plugged it in. Carrots went a flyin'.
Always the good sport, our friend attacked the cripsy ribs and the two of us decided the bottom rack wasn't too bad. Anything to help out a hubby with a bruised ego. I commented, "This is how I remember ribs. My dad made them this way all the time." To which he replied, "Your dad is dead. And he died at an early age." Touche.
Anyway, the ribs were yummy. I don't like fat. I'll cut a one inch border around steak fat which leaves hubby tearing out his hair at all the wasted meat. And I tell ya, nothing cooks down the fat on some beef ribs like catching them on fire. Excellent.
So, I put the Silver Spoon cookbook away. But not after thinking of all the other great uses for this incredible encyclopedia of all things deemed edible in the great country of Italy:
* No need for a medicine ball when I'm doing my ab work, the Silver Spoon works great.
* Great for lifting your spirits when you need something hilarious to think about. For example, the recipe for frog soup - main ingredient? 24 frogs.
*Wonderful for that last resort to get kids to do their chores. I just open it to the 'KID' section and leave it laying around. Braised leg of KID, Rack of KID,... they'd better shape up or it's Hansel and Gretel time at the Richardson household.
P.S. Aircon is fixed! And unlike every other appliance in this house, it was only a little, easy, relatively non-expensive thing that needed to be fixed. After whining to the 90 year old woman who answered the phone at the air repair shop yesterday morning ("We called two places yesterday and no one called back! I have five kids and one of them is an infant! AAAGH!") The repair man was out not between 9 and 12, but at 8:30. Since no kids had gone to school, I had not had time to make myself presentable to the non-Richardson world. Between my crazed hair and mascara under my eyes, I think I looked appropriately melted.
Hmmm,.. what'll go out next? The oven? That's okay,.. .I've got a grill!