Feel the Burn!

We get invited to parties and cookouts all the time. We are not complaining, of course. We love the festivities and socializing.  I know it’s because people expect us to bring homemade food. We have a reputation among friends and family that we provide tasty, spicy food that wakes up the taste buds and stimulates the palette. It is all very flattering, but we wonder if anyone cares about having our company. We specialize in food that is hot and saucy, meaning we use pungent spices and fresh chilis. Our recipes get accolades and we often don’t know what to bring since there is so much from which to choose.

For a cookout we attended, and practically catered, last week, red sauce meat chili was the specialty of the day. The host was also serving grilled hamburgers and we thought it would pair well with the entrée. To tone it down, we knew there would be fruit salad and fresh sorbet. It was a gorgeous day that dissolved into a balmy evening and everyone had a great time. A lot had to do with the weather and the food, but a lot had to do with the kids’ smiling faces as they bounced up and down, over and over again, on the small trampoline. The parents were thrilled that they couldn’t stop and the tots fought over who would be next.

I spoke with some of the parents as they were commending us about our food. They explained that they encouraged social occasions so the kids could get to know others their own age and also get some exercise in the fresh air. The backyard cookout was the perfect venue for everyone. A few adults tried a few tricks on the trampoline, perhaps remembering the old days in gym class. I took gymnastics for beginners and the first thing we did was learn the trampoline. As a result, I could give the kids at the party a few pointers. I became a spotter and a coach. I showed them how to jump higher and how to do a tuck, bringing the knees up to the chest. I even remembered how to do twists and double bounce with a partner, but they were quick to look at this web page on their smart phone and tell me what I should be doing. After my amateur demonstration, adding in one somersault and a few seat drops, I resumed my time at the dining table. The kids ended up with muscle fatigue and needed a rest. They were too tired to talk. They did eat chili and expressed the desire to have some again at my house.

We topped off the evening with ice cream sundaes, the kind you make on your own. We put out a few basic flavors and five or six toppings from everyday sprinkles and jimmies to crushed oreos and nuts. It was a huge success as a cookout and we know that we will be attending one very soon. Chili anyone?