I don’t often cut out recipes from newspapers. But on Saturday morning, a Globe and Mail recipe by Lucy Waverman for jerk pork tenderloin caught my eye. So on Sunday I prepared the marinade–mostly ground herbs and spices–in the food processor.
And then it was just a matter of scraping the exotically scented brown sludge into a zip lock bag along with the pork. I decided on sides of simple boiled potatoes with butter and fresh dill and Aunt Sandy’s coleslaw salad, or “lines”. Have I told you about “lines” before? They’re just mandolin-sliced cabbage and onions in a mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar dressing (German in origin?) When I was little, I called this salad, which Aunt Sandy often prepared to accompany her roast chicken or glazed ham, “lines” because that’s what the salad looked like. I was gifted with observational prowess from the beginning.
The dinner turned out to be a real winner.
The Beast was particularly pleased with it. So when it came to deciding what to serve Nick on Monday night for his celebratory birthday dinner, we both thought of the jerk pork. I upped the ante slightly by making a batch of scalloped potatoes instead of boiled ones after I’d found a new recipe for a version I wanted to try in the most recent edition of Chatelaine. (I really must be growing up–cutting out recipes from newspapers and Chatelaine? Oh dear.) And there had to be “lines” of course. In fact, I have difficulty eating pork without them.
We also decided to invite a very special friend to Nick’s party: Cosi Junior. Mom, Cosi Jr. would be your cup of tea, let me tell you! He’s charming, handsome, of Italian heritage, and he loves older women. Actually, he likes all sorts of women, and women like him. I don’t know if it’s his Latin good looks, the way he smokes a Marlboro, his contagious laugh, his soft-spoken sensitivity, or that he’s arguably the best pizza maker in the city–oh wait: I think I just answered my own question. Cosi Jr. can cook! And a man that can cook makes women go gaga. Cosi now manages Terroni restaurant on Queen street. That’s where he befriended Nick, before Nick got fired. Cosi Jr. and Nick are very close–nearly as close as Nick and the Beast (only nearly because the Beast gets very possessive.) Anyway, he’s sort of a legend at Terroni, and beyond. He’s Cosi Jr.
Foodie: How old is Nick going to be anyway?
Beast: 27. That means I’ll be 27 in a couple of months. I’m getting so old!
Foodie: That’s disgusting.
Beast: That I’m getting old?
Foodie: NO. That you’re only 26. You’re not even as old as I was when we first met! What’s wrong with me?
Beast: I have no idea. How old are you again?
Foodie: Did you pick up the cookbook I asked you to get for Nick?
Beast: Yes, and a second-hand Miles Davis CD I think he should have.
Foodie: Great. I made a card. Oh, and I picked up a few cheeses and a cacciatore to have as snacks before dinner. Does Nick even know that Cosi is coming?
Beast: I don’t think so.
And then the doorbell rang. It was Nick. He and the Beast barely said a word to each other before they began playing instruments. You don’t need words when you have the power of music to communicate complex human emotions.
And then the doorbell rang again.
Foodie: My word! Who could that be?
And hence entered Cosi Jr. in all his glory bearing two bottles of very nice red wine. Nick didn’t seem that surprised to see him. No bother though. I was excited, and I’ll admit, slightly nervous, to see how these two non-homosexuals, Cosi Jr and the Beast, would interact, or compete, with each other, considering their mutual affinities for the birthday boy. Would they try to out do each other in humour, wit and intelligence? Or would they take their shirts off and bump up against the other’s chest? And then maybe Nick would take his shirt off too! This could be the best dinner ever! I just wish I’d invited a few more lady friends to clap, cheer and say, “my oh my!” with me.
After snacks, and conversation that covered topics as diverse as feminists (Nick is one) to what kind of locker room person you are (are you modest, or do you cut your toes and shave with no towel on?), dinner was served in the dining room.
And then it was time to give Nick some birthday gifts. Cosi went first. He got Nick a gas mask. Nick proceeded to put it on and do things that one normally couldn’t–and shouldn’t–do while wearing a gas mask. For example, he tried to smell his wine.
The worst is yet to come: I put the Beast in charge of picking up a special dessert for tonight. I figured he might get a birthday cake or cupcakes from a bake shop. Instead, he chose frozen apple blossoms from Sobey’s frozen dessert section.
The evening ended on a high note with scotch and more good laughs and discussions in the living room. It would have ended on the highest of notes if all those boys had taken off their shirts though. (That’s the exact kind of dirty ole’ lady joke my Chatelaine-subscribing, newspaper recipe-cutting mother would make–although she would have them out of their pants too. What’s happening to me?)