Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Second Fourth And The Big Eight-Oh

The calendar may say July 7th, but today turned into Fourth of July version 2.0.  The continuation of this hot weather streak was practically begging residents of the Midwest to grill some meat, and it's a crime to let a call like that go unanswered.  We may have the smallest, least easy-to-use grill in the world, but that couldn't stop us from putting together a spread of meat that looked like a Noah's arc of deliciousness.

We had two of every animal cooking away on the back porch early this afternoon.  Technically, it was just cows and chickens, but within that limited group of animals, we hit 'em hard.  With the blazing afternoon sun, flame was barely even required to get things cookin'.  I'm sure the meat would have grilled up nicely if it was sitting directly on the pavement, but we went the complicated route and used charcoal briquettes and that antique of a grill.  But the flavor was say that grilled tastes better than boiled would be the understatement of a lifetime.

In addition to fake Fourth of July, today was also Grandma's fake 80th birthday.  She hit the milestone a few weeks ago, but since I was out of town on vacation, we decided to do some pre-birthday celebration in early June, and today was selected as the post-birthday celebration day.  I think it's safe to say she cashed in big--personally, I'd be more than willing to trade in a celebration on the day my birthday for two parties surrounding the actual date. 

I suppose since we split the 80th celebration into two separate occasions, it would have been appropriate to celebrate twice like it was a 40th birthday party.  But eighty doesn't come around too often, so we went big and threw two full-fledged 80th parties, which is the equivalent of a 160th birthday party.   And no triple-digit birthday can pass without homemade ice cream.  That's twice this week--but this time, in a show of racial harmony, we gave a nod to our old friend the cocoa bean and whipped up a batch of dark chocolate ice cream.

And any good birthday bash needs cake to complement the ice cream, so Mom baked a book-shaped cake in honor of Grandma's 80th.  I must say, this is the kind of reading I could really get into--I've never devoured a book so quickly in my life.  I did, however, have to ask Mom to add an icing comma to the cake, because there's nothing more unsettling than a grammatically-challenged dessert.

It's been quite a week--there was the Fourth of July, fake Fourth of July, and fake 80th birthday for Grandma.  I certainly can't complain about being underfed these past few days.  With two pseudo-holidays in a single twenty-four hour period, only two things kept the day from achieving absolute perfection.  My hopes and dreams of peeing out the coals after the grilling was completed went unfulfilled, and Serena Williams won Wimbledon this morning.  Despite those notable downers, July 7th will go down in the record books as a fine, fine day of celebration.

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