I enjoyed a great visit with my daughter and her family. What a busy household! Between their two girls, an eighteen year old with an entourage of colorfully appointed friends, her older sister by two years and her boyfriend, three dogs, two cats, plus a fully functioning day care on the premises, there is not much down time to prepare for the next likely catastrophic event.
The tiniest member of the clan would be Jasper. Jasper, a designer breed Affenhuahua or Bichonaranian or something, a hybrid of the minutest proportions, is my daughter’s shadow and self appointed guardian when she is home. The dog takes this position very seriously. Unphased by his diminutive stature he is a fairly aggressive little man, and is extremely protective of interlopers threatening to steal a moment of my daughter’s attention he feels takes from his allotted share. Animals and I have always maintained a special bond. I have bought and sold more Habitrails, cages, litter, kibble, dog food, cat food, hamster food, rabbit food, and toys for one species or another then the average Pet Smart buyer. That being said, it was unusual to find myself despised on sight by such a formidable enemy wrapped in an economy sized package. On setting down my overnight bag the gauntlets were drawn. In his mind it was obvious it was him or me. If I entered a room the wee warrior issued a warning growl. Hugging my daughter was treated as grounds for a full on attack. Below I am including what would have been the cutest picture of the tiny tyrant but for the fact that I lopped off his head, perhaps a Freudian “whoops” in retribution for the tear he left in my new shorts while trying to remove my leg from my torso.
On my first day there plans were in the works to see “Ted” at the movie theater. This not by way of a clandestine rendezvous, but rather a movie currently showing in the local theaters. Ted, for those of you who may not have not seen the trailers, appears on the surface to be a sophomoric comedy revolving around an adult man who wishes life into his teddy bear when a small boy. It is. Reminiscent of Pinocchio, the bear comes to life and the two form a bond making them BFF. Ted is a foul-mouthed, irreverent sort of bear who would put Pooh off his honey and send Piglet scurrying for an exorcist. In truth this was a movie, or so one might assume, that might be expected to attract a viewer demographic of college aged males still deriving joy from sucking beer out of tubes in their hats and exchanging bodily noises.
We signed over the registration to my car for a family sized tub of popcorn with extra butter, three bottles of water and a Snickers bar, and located our seats in number 11 of 12 viewing areas on the premises. An hour and half later, plus or minus a bit, to my surprise I found I had left some serious laughs on the floor. At one point the people behind us asked us to keep the giggling down which hasn’t happened to me since I saw Hanky Panky with Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner years ago after two margaritas. For those of you easily offended by off-color humor this is one movie you need to cross of your list. At times it is so incredibly inappropriate it makes you cringe but being somewhat irreverent myself, it made me laugh out loud far more often then expected.
A movie lover since I first saw Bambi holding my mother’s hand, I don’t go the theater often any more. In high school the local theaters were magical places where couples got to first base in the balcony, elementary boys threw popcorn at one another, and Elvis sang his way into our hearts. Drive-in marquis advertised double features for $1.50 a carload, and on the weekends teens maxed out the seating capacity cramming bodies into their Chevy Impala’s, GTO’s, or dad’s family sedan. Animated characters pushed cardboard pizzas, and Dr. Pepper on the screen before the movie began and many a high school ring changed hands once the windows had steamed over.
After I was married and two children had been added to my tax deductions, the drive-in was an inexpensive place to take our toddlers on the weekends. Dr. Denton’s snapped in place, and a lunch packed they would swing on the swings until the movie started, and generally be asleep in the back of our old station wagon by the time the credits had played. You don’t see drive-ins much anymore. Thinking back I can’t remember the last time I placed a speaker in my window, but there was something fun about being in your own car watching a movie on the big screen wearing your fuzzy slippers and eating a chili dog brought from home.
Years ago I attended services at a huge church in Southern California. Aside from the massive size of the structure, it was quite unique in the fact that it had a full drive-in like set up in the parking lot complete with speakers. Purple haired ladies with huge rollers in their hair, the infirmed, and families with more children then good sense, could park and enjoy the sermon without having to interact with the congregation gathered inside. I remember finding that peculiar at the time, but I guess if you build it they will come. Even more strange, at least to me, is the church by my daughter’s house with a Starbuck’s in the lobby and a snack bar. Really?
At any rate, I am home and busy in the kitchen. During my visit, the North Woods Inn in Southern California was brought up. For my birthday while living with my parents this was my restaurant of choice for celebration and we went there every year from eighth grade until I graduated from high school. It was a rustic cabin like atmosphere with snow on the roof, a stuffed grizzly in the lobby, and peanut shells tossed about the bar floor. Steaks were the draw on their menu alongside huge Idaho potatoes slathered with a fabulous cheesy sauce and all the trimmings. Salads were served family style and their signatures were a rich bleu buttermilk dressing served over fresh greens paired with a delicious red cabbage salad. I’m serving both tonight with a hot pastrami and a cold beer. The combination is so good together that I’m providing both recipes.
This is a pic of Cassanova, who enjoys helping himself to the contents of the refrigerator if left to his own devices. When I caught him he looked at me as if to say, “what?”.
Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw
1/2 large red cabbage, thinly shaved
1/2 red onion thinly sliced and chopped
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. celery seed
3/4 tsp. onion powder
Whisk together all dressing ingredients and pour over red cabbage and onion. Allow to marinate overnight and even better if left several days. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if desired.
Bleu Cheese Buttmermilk Dressing
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. minced onion
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. crumbled bleu cheese
Combine buttermilk, sour cream, garlic, minced onion, sugar, paprika and salt in food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add blue cheese and pulse several times leaving some small chunks of bleu cheese. Refrigerate for 3-4 hrs.