Queues and Barbecues

They asked me to do it again. Despite the lines — oh! the lines… — they asked me to do it again.

“Is there anything we can do about the lines?” they gingerly put forth.

Last Halloween, our children’s annual grade school Halloween carnival got an upgrade. It moved from school to the ballfield at the local community center, a live band would play, there would be a bar… And they asked me to do the food.

The Chef boogying at sunset

The chef/fairy/cow boogying at sunset

I was to cook for somewhere between 450 and 600 people. I was a week in preparation and was all set — except that the chimneys I needed for my coal were 90 minutes late. The carnival had opened at 3:30, people began queuing up for food at 4-ish. And I didn’t have anything to serve until close to 5 p.m., at which point the line had stretched from our home-plate set up well into left field. We would never catch up.

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Tropical Thai in the Dusty Desert

Our last Cub Scout camp out ever — and I wanted to make something special for the Saturday group dinner.

Already being in the cultural mash-up mode, I opted for traditional Thai — a tropical cuisine whose flavors might adapt nicely to the particular leisurely pace of a desert camp out.

Willa, the desert and stormy skies

Willa, the desert and stormy skies

We got to our friends Greg and Mary Ann’s private property, Camp Nylen in the Joshua Tree desert around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the first ones to arrive. After opening camp and getting settled in, I began simple dinner preparations for the three families that would be there that evening. I had made a pesto pasta and brought a couple steaks. Greg arrived with his son Gram, pal Vic and his sons Miles and Logan got there with five different kinds of Aidells sausages, and we got ready to throw some red oak logs on the Santa Maria grill. More

Keeping it Local

I was a bit skeptical when I first got the email. Our local community club, which is always having some event or other, had dreamed up a new one: the Fiddle & Griddle family campout.

Albacore & shrimp ceviche

Albacore & shrimp ceviche

It was to take place on the baseball field on a Saturday in August, there would be a Santa Maria-style grill to cook on, games for the kids, campfire singalongs and so forth. It sounded interesting, but probably wasn’t our style of thing — I’m a reluctant camper, I find the packing up, unloading, setting up camp, breaking down, packing back up and unloading again a laborious process, especially for a single night a couple miles from home. More