Sunday, June 2, 2013

Family Table

I'm here early on a Sunday up before the rest of the house. I like it this way : the first hour if I'm lucky...few minutes if I'm less to enjoy my coffee in the holy solitude of a still sleeping house.  My perkiness this morning is likely due to the cooler, cloudy day and the fact that as DD, I imbibed in two less glasses of wine than normal last night.  We had dinner over the river and through the still mostly mosquito-less woods at my dad and step-mom's.  There was a calm in the storm that rained on our party as promised.  The reprieve was long enough for my dad, who was channeling his inner Bobby Flay, to grill dinner.  He had aged rib eyes all week and they were gorgeous.  He also went round to stores and yard sales looking for some must have device for cooking with convection on the grill.  The guys all gathered around the grill to watch him (and also maybe to ensure he not burn down the deck and then the house).  I love the way they hold court with cold beers around the hot grill.  You can just feel the testosterone as you smell the meat searing.  My Dad offered the kids an alternative entree, but they both were quick to claim a steak.  They know what's good for them, and Miss Bit is a consummate carnivore.  She polished off as much if not more of her hunk of meat than anyone else around the table.  Of course, pretty much all she ate was meat though!  She was thrilled she could cut her own steak and with her butter knife.  Yes, it's true...they were that tender and still my dad was talking about the asparagus I recently served topped with a poached egg.  That old poached egg trick gets them every time.  I'll admit it's memorable and delicious and decadent and it takes the ordinary to a company worthy level.

But this post is not really about steak or poached eggs, oh but that's an idea.  It's about breaking bread together and sharing toasts.  It's about remembering and creating new memories so many of which are made around the family table.  Last night T. Bone confessed that he used to go to the bathroom with a napkin stuffed with vegetables on his will not eat list and flush them.  He claimed to have devised that plan after hearing about the sometimes hours long stand-offs my dad and brother would have over colorful things grown in the ground.  The story goes (and this is true) : my brother would only eat corn.  Corn with butter.  Sometimes my dad  would serve something green or orange or red, and we would listen to Hooked on Classics two or three times through waiting for my brother to eat his daily dose of vitamins and fiber. He would not.  The phone would ring unanswered relentlessly as my friends would call and call.  I missed so much gossip.  My dad would get up to flip the record...yes record.  It would turn dark out and still he would not budge.  Eventually my dad would  retire to the kitchen under the guise of starting clean-up, and I would inhale my brother's vegetables, and the vegetable stand-off would be settled for another night.  Still it's a fond memory even if I never want to hear Hooked on Classics ever again and still get wide eyed when my brother feasts on Brussels sprouts, spinach and broccoli!  It was a family ritual to gather around the dining room table at the end of the day to reconnect.  Not in front of the tv, not at the kitchen counter, not at a fast food table.

The story that will live on from last night will likely be grandpa slurping down a Junebug for 2 bucks.  The men and boys in the family love a lucrative eating challenge.  For the right price, they will eat almost anything. Grandpa said it was better than the steak, and the kids giggled and guffawed and squealed gross!  It's a moment I'm sure they won't forget.  I'm pretty sure that's why my dad did it too. Recently, he shared with me that he's disappointed an opportunity for a week in NYC at the holidays was not going to come to fruition. It was a long shot and I shared the many reasons this was probably for the best.  He wasn't swayed by my sour grapes.  He just said, Oh but it would have been so cool.  Do you know what would have been so cool about it?  T. Bone and Miss Bit would have remembered it forever.  They would always remember being in Times Square on New Year's Eve and they would remember it because of me.

T. Bone just came down.  The first thing he said was, Do you think Grandpa chewed that Junebug?

He just proved my point.  You don't have to go to NYC to make memories.  Some of the best, longest lasting are made right at home around the family table.