We moved in early fall of last year, preventing us from enjoying a full summer on our new deck. It was one of the condo’s big selling points, the deck was, so it was torture not being able to use it for much over the last seven months. But then, in time for Mother’s Day, the weather warmed up to 80 degrees. So we broke out the grill.
The task of hosting provides such a thrill for me, yet produces equivalent amounts of anxiety. One of the greatest anxieties is of not having enough food. I almost always plan for too much. My justification for this is that we’ll be S.O.L. if we run out of food, but leftovers will always last us for future meals. This party was going to just be a few of us—Sarah, our mothers, her father, and some friends—but I still ended up planning three kinds of meats to grill and two kinds of veggies. I often forget how nuts we go with the cooking sometimes. Witness the following conversation with one of our neighbors upon seeing the platters of food lining up to be grilled:
Neighbor: “Wow! Going all out, I see.”
Me: “Yeah. We have a tendency to do that.”
N: “Well, it’s a special occasion. It’s not like you do this often.”
M: “Actually, we do. Go all out. It’s what we do.”
M: “It’s kind of a personality flaw.”
Nevertheless, I like it. Would our mothers expect anything less?
All three main dishes came out perfectly. We had shrimp (a ginger-cilantro marinade, put on skewers with scallions and red peppers), chicken wings (a Ethiopian Berbere spice mixture that had a kick, but nothing that knocked you out), and korean-style beef short ribs. We also put on some sweet corn, now that it’s in season, and some garlic-marinated portabellas. We had plenty left over.
The combination of a gas grill and expansive deck seems to me to be the height of decadence, but after spending years with a tiny little Weber on a tiny little back porch, I think I’ve paid my dues. I’m certain we’ll be repeating this scene quite frequently in the months ahead.