I am cooking chicken cacciatore on Sunday, if you’d like to stop by. I won’t continue to trumpet the reason why people might drop in, but I do have a television and a satellite hook-up, so that I can get reception on all major television “events.” It is admittedly more appealing to guys than to women, but I also do not want to insult anyone who is a fan, especially anyone who happened to “drop” the line, “Go Niners!” on me the other day. That is pretty cool, that an acquaintance would cheer for my team, just because I do.
Speaking of acquaintances, what is the difference between an acquaintance and a friend? Is it time? Is it specificity of topic or content? If I let an elephant or two out, to wander around within clear view of others, does that make me less of an acquaintance, and more of a friend?
In either case, I am having some friends, both male and female, join me and Annie on Sunday, for an event that commences at three-thirty (that would be Bell Springs time), and goes until probably seven or so. Therefore, I want to be able to serve dinner. I do not want to say to Annie, “Hey, I’m having some guys over-make some dinner. Chop, Chop!”
Aside from the fact that I would get nothing more than an amused glance, it would go against the grain. I learned from my father that men can cook, if they are of a mind. I also know that when I begin with the home-canned tomatoes that I put up last fall, I am going to start out ahead of the game. Annie includes my cacciatore with popcorn and coffee, as being a dish that she prefers my cooking to her own. That, my friends, is a compliment, and one that I do not take lightly.
Last Saturday, when a few of my friends stopped by to watch the [event omitted], I was the one who started the barbecue with manzanita and oak, instead of charcoal, because charcoal had not been purchased. (Ah, the perfect application of the passive voice...) I wasn’t planning on eating anything that came off of the barbecue, but I figured that my friends would not have been here in the first place, if there were not an event on the tube, so I was happy to help out.
Not only that, but I peeled, sliced and placed into a mammoth silver bowl under water, a sack of organic Russet potatoes. When the time came, I heated up the oil, and started cranking out batches of home-made French-fries, and for the first time in the history of the game, managed to make enough for Casey. I was also thrilled to serve my home-canned ketchup, which came out so much better than the previous year. I said it was my ketchup, but it is as much Annie’s, because she adds the spices and-ta da-the sugar.
See, last year, I liked the ketchup, but it wasn’t really like the stuff I grew up with, off the shelf from Sunrize Market. There was something not quite right. When I asked the great dispenser of spices about it, she gave it long thought and announced that it was possible that the sugar was an issue, and she cut it in half. Voila. As simple as that and twice as tasty.
So I will be dicing the onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, oregano and basil for the cacciatore, and browning the chicken that I will not be consuming, so as to combine and simmer on our wood-stoves, because both will be going this Sunday with the weather finally turning.
Pull up a chair, grab some of Casey’s fresh salad greens, carrots, and beets, some pasta or rice, and whatever else floats your boat, and gather around the action, while we find out whether or not the West Coast Offense can tame the East Coast Beast, the team from New York.
It’s a tough one to call because the two teams have met already, with Cali clawing its way to a hard-fought, close victory over Eli and his teammates. They say it can’t be done twice in one season, but I say if once was good, then twice is better. So, with fervent apologies to anyone who might be rooting for the East Coast Beast, I must say, “Go, West Coast, all the way to Indianapolis.”