Thank god, someone made actual dinner.
The Horse and Pony Jamboree was a hell of a lot of fun to watch, but, as you may have gleaned, there was not a lot of finished food produced.
It fell to the old guard to produce actual, nourishing food that would keep us sated for more than 15 minutes. You see, the whole day had been hyped as a showdown of new vs. old school: new school being anyone born in 1977 or after who first learned to cook in the current decade (everyone but my brother-in-law Peter), old school being anyone who learned to cook before 1990 (Peter).
Old school might not be as heavy on the yo momma jokes or willingness to cook with non-traditional ingredients like skittles, but it did manage to create one thing that new school, despite all its theatrics, could not: Dinner.
My life is definitely missing a rotisserie. I would rotisserie EVERYTHING.
Old school originally didn’t want to participate at all, but thank god for his love of cooking and the foresight that enabled him to sense that the young bucks would fail to produce a complete meal. So while they dithered around with endless diatribes about food and one-ups, old school quietly produced an entire delicious meal in a third of the time it took them to make a single sriracha-based sauce.
Actual quote from my nephew just now, who’s playing Rock Band with Brian and is sitting on a pile of pillows to play the drums: “My pillow is moist.”*
Chicken – it’s not fancy, but it’s good. especially when it’s slathered with herb butter and cooking on a rotisserie grill. One of my favorite things about Peter is that although he’s been out of the kitchen for a while, he retains a chef’s liberal hand with butter. Because butter, when not stored in mass quantities in a pitcher, is one of my Very Favorite Things.
Chicken on a hot rotisserie starts to color pretty quickly, which means that I have to stay inside while it’s cooking so I don’t try to pilfer any brown bits of skin and burn off my fingertips. Although getting rid of my fingerprints could really be a boon to my fledgling career as an international bank robber.**
*LIKE YOUR MOM! See, it doesn’t really work when I say it, it just sounds yicky and makes me feel complicit with the patriarchy. I think it’s a dude thing. And by “dude” I don’t mean all members of the male sex, but those specimen that can be specifically classified as “dudes.” Like, Bill Gates? Not a dude. Shia LeBoeuf? Dudey McDudeington.
**LIKE YOUR MOM! No, still not working.
Another fun thing about the rotisserie is the mechanism itself. There’s something pleasantly medieval about spearing the whole chickens on what is basically an enormous sword that attaches to a small motor, and then carrying the hot, dripping sword back inside. It makes we want to yell things like “Fetch me a tankard of ale!”, “Where’s my trencher?” and “Death to heretics!” (I don’t, because I know it scares people.)*]
*I’m a medieval history freak, didn’t you know? Not the Renaissance fair kind, the Latin-speaking kind who is obsessed with the history of the papacy. I know, I know, now I seem EVEN COOLER.
They’re not cut by hand, but I’ll let it go.
Since Peter was preparing an ACTUAL MEAL, there were ACTUAL SIDE DISHES. I know! Zucchini, yellow summer squash, red onion and red bell pepper took a long walk off a short mandoline en route to becoming veggie “linguini.”
Although the finished dish was good, Team Old School did run into a minor snafu in the preparation of the veg. See, it’s been a while since Peter was in culinary school, and kitchen technology has made some advances since the dark days of 1985, when they had to use very sharp rocks to hack vegetables into rudimentary slices that could be more easily cooked and eaten. So we can’t really expect him to know how to use hi-tech gadgets properly, and shouldn’t be surprised that he nearly severed an artery while using a mandoline to slice zucchini. I mean, the hand guard it comes with does look like the thingy you use to play air hockey, so why would you think to use it with the mandoline? And it’s hard to talk and slice at the same time.*
*Especially when you’re talking about how easy to use your new mandoline is.
Pan full of summer.
Luckily, the wound didn’t have a negative effect on the finished dish – just a quick saute of the veg with some olive oil and garlic, topped with grated romano - although it did have a major negative effect on my post-dinner cocktail when I discovered he’d reached his injured hand into the ice bin and coated all the ice with blood. Room-temperature screw drivers don’t really hit the spot on a warm North Carolina night.
MULTIPLE SIDE DISHES! I know! Madness!
As if all this hearty, nutritious, edible food weren’t enough, he also roasted off an assortment of new potatoes, tossing them with minced olives and preserved lemon.
All the food was done at about the same time and served at a normal dinner hour (i.e., before 2am). It was all well-cooked, and although at first glance it looks like a basic square meal – roast chicken, veggies potatoes – every dish had a touch that made it unique, like the preserved lemons or the use of squash as pasta. And there were DINNER ROLLS! I can’t remember the last time I had a dinner roll that wasn’t at a hotel buffet or dinner event. What screams homey family dinner more than warm dinner rolls being passed around the table, I ask you?
It felt so delightfully 1950s; I wanted to put on a dress and some pearls, chug some valium and pretend to be thrilled with my limited existence as a cloistered housewife.
Final score: Old School, 5; New School, 3. Better luck next time!
And with that, the Jamboree comes to an end. Coming up: Fine dining at The Left Bank and where to find the best barbecue on the Outer Banks. And possibly hurricane evacuation!