Mary Beth Writes

Our family gathered for Easter dinner this year, um, the Saturday after Easter. I guess flexibility is one of our survival skills.  Our three kids have in-laws, one baby, two dogs and all three live 1-3 hours away. We are grateful when these kids show up at all, let alone needing them on specific dates.

So. Easter dinner. The kids had given Len a new Weber grill for his birthday – which inspired an Easter menu of kabobs. Some marinated and grilled veggies plus a lot of marinated and grilled meat.

But because he is Len and I wasn’t looking, he hared off in a direction none of us expected.

He created NINE rubs and marinades for the chicken, pork, and beef. And when he served these NINE small bowls of meat for us to mix and match on our plates – he identified them.

But not with a simple label… but with the opening line to a novel which will never be written though you can feel the story in your soul as you chow down on the awesome food.

I think I have not feted Len’s meat feat enough. Sure, I’ve had these crazy story starts taped to the fridge since April. But it is Labor Day weekend. Time to publically commemorate grilled food.

BTW, I just asked him if he still has the recipes. He says no, though some of the rubs were from Penzeys https://www.penzeys.com/  (I think his sister gave them to him for Xmas. Len gets a lot of meat-themed presents.)

Without further ado. Leonard’s Marinated Story Starts:

  1. Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon.  In the darkest hours of WWII, Julia and her husband, an OSS agent, huddled under the rubble of a resistance fortress while Nazi Panther tanks roared overhead.  When the danger passed, the fighters removed their berets as Julia piped, “Bon Appetit!”
  2. Steakhouse Beef.  Easter Day. At the edge of town, under the harsh glow of neon lights proclaiming, “FOOD,” a waitress lit a Marlboro and looked back at a life of sweet promises and bitter disappointments.  Hoping to snag a ham on rye for a break-time snack, the Mexican cook surprised her with “Felices Pascuas” and a hearty repast.
  3. Jack Pine Sausage Chicken.  In the chill of a springtime snowstorm, in the Rhinelander Northwoods, Jacques the Lumberjack bursts into the cook shanty with a couple of squawking chickens.  “Grill them up, mon frères!” he cries.
  4. The Chicken of Zorba.  On a lonely beach, a lonely Englishman pauses, not sure if he should enter the smoky café or take a final walk into the sea.  Inside, he meets an immigrant from the island of Crete, who renews his purpose in life and also gives him some chicken.
  5. Teriyaki Chicken.  Come with me to a mysterious land where the recipes of our ancestors are worshipped and meals come with a tale of the samurai.  Look, this piece saved a noble from bandits, and this one carries the whispered urgings of a beautiful Geisha. 
  6. Teriyaki Pork.  “This is our hill!” The high-pitched whine of a Honda Civic is followed by the screech of rubber as the car slides sideways down the steep incline.  Following close behind is a Supra with a tuned Acura engine and a stereo blaring K-Pop, carrying a steaming pot of pork.
  7. Pork Mole. The white bag of pork is stained with grease and the fingerprints of the grandmother who works in the kitchen.  The grandson, who works as the delivery guy for this place, looks up from his community college textbook and reads the delivery address to which he needs to drive it. As he walks toward the Ford Taurus, he thinks of the future that lies ahead of him.  He sees the set of 26’s on the car, and smiles.  It will be a good ride.
  8. Peppercorn Beef.  A happy chef, a Turkish chef, wipes his hands on his apron and glances at the picture above the grill.  It is a newspaper photo of a popular movie star, but she seems to be staring straight at the chef and he smiles.  Dreaming of a night of love, he adds another dash of pepper, recklessly, and starts to whistle.
  9. Chili Coffee Beef.  The sun is rising, it is the beginning of a new day and the end of shift for two policeman in Waukesha.  They have worked with one another for years, and they turn without saying a word into the small café.  The other patrons barely look up, the counterman doesn’t need to ask them what they want.  But, with respect, he places a linen napkin in front of each of their plates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

Even a vegan could be enticed to partake with these literary labels.

Wonderfully delightfully irreverent and amusing! Thank you for sharing Len’s humor!

Made me smile. Your family dinners sound very entertaining.

Love this photo - it captures Len perfectly! What a fun day this was, I can feel it when I read this. Meat themed gifts......I remember a birthday duck!

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Quarantine Diary #312

“You know me, I think there ought to be a big old tree right there. And let's give him a friend. Everybody needs a friend.” ― Bob Ross

This tree lives in Waukesha and stopped me in my tracks when I was out for a walk.

...

 When will this Quarantine Diary end? When Len and I drive out not wearing masks to go to a place where we will stay overnight. Just letting you know. FYI we started last year on Friday the 13th of March.

 …

Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.

But...

Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. https://lithub.com/. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

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