Pictures: You know you want them. I won’t tell if you start to gnaw on your monitor.


Thank god for Robyn and the Blackboard Paparazzi, because otherwise I’d have no pictures. Also because at one point, there were seven people standing in a line in my kitchen with enormous cameras, all taking pictures of the chalkboards. Blackboard Paparazzi is the new name of my imaginary band. We write anarchist Brit-pop rock operas.


We ended up with around 65 people at this hootenanny, give or take, not counting Brian and me. I wrote out instructions and a menu because I don’t have the time to tell every one of those people where the bathroom is or whether the potato salad is vegan, because I’m generally too busy trying to avoid those same people because large groups of people exhaust me. Also I spend a lot of time running around because one of the bathrooms is out of TP, or we need utensils because someone considerately spilled 50 forks on the patio floor, or we need a broom because someone’s 17-month-old thinks he’s at a Danzig concert and is smashing (full) beer bottles on the floor.

It’s a good thing that kid is so freaking cute.


Luckily there were three of these tubs, so one smashed beer was no great loss. And a cooler of non-beer for those of us with low tolerances who wanted to avoid passing out in the vegetable garden. (Kudos to whoever brought the Gus Cranberry-Lime soda.)


Oh, right, there was also some pork.

You probably want the money shot.


Try to breathe. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by the smoke ring, or the jerk spice crust, or the sweet bourbon glaze spiked liberally with chile-garlic paste.

Of course, if that’s too much for you, there’s always chicken.


Really, really good smoked chicken thighs drenched in vinegary Carolina barbeque sauce.

I was a little sad for the partygoers because they weren’t actually there when this came off the grill and didn’t get to eat the smoky, salty, mahogany chicken skin. So I ate a lot of it, to make up for their absence.


Thanks to everyone who weighed in on the “how many pounds of potatoes?” question; I took your collective recommendation of 15 pounds, added another 5, and all 20 were gone by the end of the night. I could tell by the unpleasant scraping of the metal spoon against the foil tray.

side dishes

There were other side dishes as well. I say “were” because they, too, were all gone. I don’t even have a picture of the barbequed beans, because I think someone might have actually figured out how to get his or her head into the pot to lick it out.


Oh yeah, and vegetables. We won’t speak of the tofu again, so we had to give in to the cliche of portobello mushrooms. But we did smoke them. And skewer them with red onion and pineapple. And cover them with bourbon. They seemed to go over well, in that people devoured them and I saw a small child walking around with a skewer, eating the veg off the stick like cotton candy.

Cotton candy covered in bourbon, that is. Jodi’s sister, I’m sorry that I can’t remember your name and I’m sorry if booze-soaked mushrooms gave your child a hangover.


All in all, people gave these paper plates a run for their money. Next year, everyone eats off tin camping plates.

In spite of the photos to the contrary, most people did save some room for dessert. There were two pies, a pan of double-fudge mocha brownies, a tres leches cake…and this:


You know what’s scary? Buying a half-gallon of half-and-half. Who even knew half-and-half came in half-gallon containers? Even scarier: When you have to buy another quart, because you need to make 20 cups of pastry cream. You also have to separate thirty eggs, slice 24 bananas and then try not to be horrified at the enormity of the banana pudding you’ve just made.

pudding innards

Luckily, my friends are vultures and at the end of the night there was only a single serving of banana pudding left. (Technically there were still some people here who could have eaten it, so I had to hide it in the fridge. Cook’s prerogative.)

And of course, Brian’s co-worker Jason forced his mother to make her killer flan again, which she did despite the fact the Jason never brings her to the party. Nice, Jason. Real nice.


But despite the pudding and flan and brownies and pie and cake, we all know why we were really there.

oh yeah

And I? Ate a bowl of banana pudding and two ribs, because I was fucking sick of all this food by Monday afternoon. But those two ribs that I did eat? Hot DAMN.

And now I need a cigarette. And I don’t smoke.

The Smoke-a-Thon is now an official event. Coming in 2010: The Smoke-a-Thon IV: This Year There Are Official T-Shirts