Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tinker Times

When my editor contacted me to let me know she wanted me to do a story that involved interviewing an Irish playwright, I could not help but get excited. After all, my name is Bridget. I am Irish Step Dancing instructor. And I love Irish storylines, with their extreme sense of both family and celebration.

Bring a play to life: Maine Playwright Series to be staged at Rivertree Arts - 3/17/11

While the article does not actually center entirely around that one playwright, it did ironically run on Saint Patrick's Day! Check it out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Family Dinner Series Week Fourteen

After taking several weeks off from Family Dinner, Uncle Bud, Gilbert Hoss and I were more than ready to get back in the game. We decided to invite Dalton, a favorite restaurant coworker of the boys. Since everyone at the Restaurant is well aware of Family Dinner, we figured Dalton would be honored at the invite. And so I decided to ask him myself.

The next time Uncle Bud and I found ourselves at the Restaurant, Dalton found me in a booth, dancing to Ke$ha.

"Hey! Do you want to come to Family Dinner sometime?" I asked between his eye rolls and my own dramatic dance moves.

"Not if you're going to play THIS music!" He said, and promptly walked away.

Apparently he didn't realize I was serious.

Luckily, Kennebunkport is a small town, and word of my post-Ke$ha sulk-fest soon reached Dalton. The next week at the Restaurant he approached my booth with a changed tune.

"Bridget, can you ask me to Family Dinner again?" he asked.

"Dalton, it would make me and Uncle Bud so happy if you, your wife, and your lovely son would join us for Family Dinner," I told him.

"Well now that you've included my family, how can I refuse?"

And so we had three people, including our third Family Dinner guest under the age of four.

Of course we all know that the best Family Dinners usually border on having too many guests. So, we figured one more couldn't hurt. I had been meaning to invite my friend Sean over for the event for a while, and a night as epic as Week Fourteen seemed as good a time as any. Plus, he and Dalton are already friends. He's even referred to as "Uncle Sean" at the Dalton household.

So with a full guest list, I set to preparing.

I had the day off from work, which should have meant I started cooking early, but instead meant I had extra time to try and polish the barn. The meal got started on the late side as usual, but luckily, Gilbert Hoss had made a garlicky spinach artichoke dip to tide us all over.

Dalton had mentioned that his wife does not eat red meat but was quick to assure that she would be happy eating side dishes. I was quick to jump in that my favorite task is to serve Bud and Hoss meals they love that are red-meat free, and as a former vegetarian, I was more than up for the task. I prepared chicken baked with stuffing, roasted asparagus, and a cheesy corn casserole, with some chicken nuggets and carrot sticks for our table's junior member.

As for our guests, when Sean had asked what he and Dalton's family could contribute to the meal, I texted back, "Beer or wine would be great!"

"Who does she think I am, Nappi Distributors?" Dalton asked Sean.

Well, Dalton. I didn't before... but now I do.

Dalton showed up with his wife, son, a twelve pack of Bud Light, a bottle of wine, and a goody bag selection of five different 24 ounce beers. Sean also brought a bottle of wine. And I got trigger happy and of course opened both bottles, despite the plethora of beer, causing all the wine to eventually turn to vinegar before my little ol' self could finish it.

I still have so much to learn.

Dinner was full of home cooked goodness and fun conversation peppered by the certain wisdom only a three year old can bring. Uncle Bud shared his rule of no hats, no cell phones, and no bum shaking, and Dalton's son obliged by merely showing his bum, but not shaking it, in true rebel fashion.

When our pint-sized guest got frustrated a little later on in the meal, Dalton asked him if there was a problem.

"No problem!" he said. "No problems, no nothings!"

Then, after sucking down a quick dessert of chocolate milk, Dalton's kid was ready to hit the road. And the rest of us? Well, the abundant food and beverage left us without any room for dessert. Which was probably a good thing, as my sweet-avoiding self did not prepare one. As per usual.

Conclusion? No matter how many guests, only open one bottle of wine at a time.

Conclusion #2? Sometimes you can sneak some Ke$ha onto your Family Dinner mix CD and not only will Dalton not leave, he won't even notice.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Uncle Bud on German Chocolate Cake

"What makes it German?"

"This cake comes with a warning. Do not store next to crepes!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Family Dinner Series Week Thirteen

Family Dinner Series Week Thirteen happened so many weeks ago that I'm honestly having a hard time remembering it. The thing is, mine and Uncle Bud's sister had another baby girl. And as awesome and amazing as this newest little addition is, her birth and the resulting scheduling conflicts pretty much put family dinners at a stand still.

Until this past Tuesday. But... that's a whole other story.

Back when our weekly dinners were still regularly scheduled programming, our friend Fitzy presented us with a ham. A ham from a pig he raised himself. A pig that was raised on slop from buckets left in the kitchen of the restaurant where Uncle Bud, Gilbert Hoss, and Fitzy all work together. Slop likely produced from meals all four of us have enjoyed while sitting at the wooden bar of said restaurant.

When I prepared Fitzy's ham, with a little OJ and a little brown sugar, and we all sat down to eat it together, we finally realized the full circle that brought that ham to our table. And we all took a minute to glow in the wonder of our sustainable meal.

Just that one minute though. Think on that food cycle too hard and you can easily get grossed out by the many meals we somehow re-consumed.

I also served scalloped potatoes which were neither local, nor sustainable, but delicious just the same in all of their chain super market glory.

And of course we had salad. Also not local. But you know, it's Maine. In the winter. Locally grown salad supplies are hard to come by.

The gathering was pretty small and the meal was full of comfort food. The perfect note on which to start our month-plus break from family dinner time.

Which may be why we went oh-so-hard when we finally came back to play...

Conclusion? Thank you, residents of the Kennebunks, for all y'alls slop.