The photo at the beginning of this post is a picture of a crab, or, more accurately, a symbol of my mood. Well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration; I’m just not really a “holiday” person in general and I do my best to sleep through as many of them as possible. But, you know, I should totally be able to rally behind the idea of giving the middle finger to “The Man” (in this instance, King George) and stuffing one’s gullet full of meat before getting drunk and watching pyromaniacs blow shit up. I mean those were the integral ingredients to every party I attended from 1986-1993. What’s not to love?
Actually, I think I posted the crab picture because, as I stood in line last Sunday at the J & P West Coast Seafood stall at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, the poor, delicious dead thing seemed to be calling my name. I struggled to find a way to change my soup plans from mussels to crab, but thought better of being so impulsive when I realized I had already bought the ingredients for my supporting courses to the mussel and fennel bisque. I stick to a plan once a plan is in place (maybe that’s why my personal life is such a mess?). And I also think I’m holding out to do a crazy seafood grill party (grillapolooza!) sometime in August out on my sadly underutilized urban patio. I imagine me and a Weber grill and oysters and crab and Bloody Marys and tons of beer. Maybe we could throw some meat in there, too, in honor of the keeper of the family grill secrets, my dad.
After my freshman year of college I decided to live with my dad in New York. I‘m not sure why, but I guess it had something to do with the fact that I had waited too long to interview for internships (I was in a car accident my freshman spring and used it as an excuse to not do anything I didn’t want to do) and I had absolutely nothing to do. My dad had a weekend house in New Jersey that was built before the civil war that needed some TLC and since I had no interest in actually earning money (isn’t it for spending?) I thought I could help the old man out and drive around in his expensive cars and learn to play tennis, because someone once told me that all “well bred young ladies should know how to play tennis.” Let me just say that I know how obnoxious this sounds. But also let me say that it was even more obnoxious in reality, and that I’m clearly not a well bred young lady.
Anyway, after week of working on my tan (also known as slathering myself in a homemade mixture of baby oil and iodine) in the 65 degree pool (ouch!) and hiring out people to clean the windows I was bored beyond belief. My dad was in Hong Kong and I had no interest in trucking into the city because it was miserably hot there and all my friends had gone off to their places in the Hamptons and no one had invited me along. Probably because I was a horrible brat--make sure to remind me to tell you about the clearest example of this, the great tennis scandal of 1991, sometime when you want to feel much better about yourself.
There I was, in all my early 90s crispy Jersey tan-ness driving around without any place to go; after blowing all my money on baby t-shirts and floral sundresses from the Mall at Short Hills, I decided I needed a project. And there were these really cute invitations at the stationery store in town...
So a 4th of July party it would be. There is no better way to bribe people (especially 19 year olds) than with the lure of free BBQ, kegs of beer and a semi-private place to fashion bongs out of apples or soda cans. So that’s what I did.
My dad, though I’ve never told him this, deserves a cushy place in the after life for putting up with my shenanigans over the years. The parties at his beautiful home that were always punctuated with someone barfing somewhere (usually it was me and it was into the pool), oy. I was a TERROR. Sorry Papacito, I was the girl version of a douchebag growing up.
But back to the 4th of July, 1991... 25 or so of my new friends from college descended on Dad’s house for a little holiday fun. And my dad, oh keeper of the family grill secrets, did not disappoint. He started by smoking a brisket and sausages then making cowboy sandwiches, which are comprised of smoked kilbasa, white bread and hot sauce. They promptly blew out the taste buds of my non-Texas BBQ uninitiated east coast peeps, who were then forced to drown their fireball mouths in either Shiner beer or a ridiculously alcoholic sangria (Casey T., I mean YOU). Dad did actually really delight in making those college aged dudes sweat, much in the same way he used to feed me pickles as a baby just to laugh at my pained expressions (OK, I had to get that Sadist streak from someone). But the guy totally deserved a little fun with the chaos that befell his house.
He must have disappeared after all that grilled deliciousness was eaten (he had several girlfriends in those pre-second marriage days that would have offered him respite, or maybe he returned to the city, which was still way hotter than but less full of wasted, entitled coeds) because I don’t remember seeing him again for at least a week. Smart man.
That was 19 years ago today.
I never did learn how to play tennis.
But I will learn to grill again. On my patio, with my bribed friends in attendance. But it won’t be a holiday, just a soupapalooza!